Results tagged ‘ Rangers ’

“I Think I’ll Miss You Most Of All, Scarecrow”

After a 99-loss season, change is inevitable.  However, I was very sad to hear today that Joe Nathan is now a Texas Ranger.

Since his arrival in Minnesota in 2004, Joe Nathan (with the exception of perhaps Brad Radke) has been my favorite Twin.  He had the dominant “stuff” that Everyday Eddie lacked, the humble attitude, and the most incredible “walk-up” theme in Twins history.  I had his jersey for awhile and it is no coincidence that the name of this blog is so closely related to Mr. Nathan.

I realize that this is strictly a business decision for the Twins organization (and I guess we offered him a decent proposal, too), but oh I’m going to miss this so much…

Vacation Reflection: Part Two

Earlier on this blog, I recalled the first part of my recent vacation: a trip to the Field of Dreams movie site.  Well, the second (and primary) destination of the trip was the South Side of Chicago, to see my Twins take on the White Sox at US Cellular Field.

From a stadium perspective, I was impressed.  Though perhaps not in the same “romantic class” as a Target Field or Kauffman Stadium, I thought The Cell was still more impressive than the more modern Miller Park in Milwaukee.  I was expecting worse, to be honest.

Now, I don’t want to denigrate the White Sox fans by saying this, but seeing a game at The Cell is a heckuva lot different than here in Minny.  Perhaps the inflamed tensions of the Twins’ recent ownership of the Sox came into play here, but Chicago fans seem much more intense than those residing in Twins Territory.  Over here, we live by the “Minnesota Nice” creed and sit on our hands and mouths quite a bit.  In Chi-town, those hands and mouths are wide-open.

I don’t think one type of “fandom” is necessarily better than the other, but being used to “passive” it was eye-opening to see a more agressive style of root, root, rooting for the home team.

Notes:


If the Twins completely fall out of the race after being disgraced (20-6) against Texas, the above picture will be the image of the season for the Minnesota Twins.  Mr. Everything.

Preview (47-55, 4th, 3.5 GB CWS): Carl Pavano (6-7, 4.24) vs. CJ Wilson (10-4, 2.94)

Texas Beatdown

When a lineup consists of Josh Hamilton, Michael Young, Adrian Beltre, and Nelson Cruz, sometimes a blowout occurs.

About the only positive to take from it is Swarzak saving the bullpen after Duensing’s disappointment.

Preview (24-39, 5th, 3.0 GB KCR): Colby Lewis (5-6, 4.37) vs. Scott Baker (3-4, 3.86)

Have Gun, Will Travel…

http://www.youtube.com/e/tgvxu8QY01s
large_cliff-lee.jpgWell, well, the Yankees didn’t get their man after all…

Talk about a guy (Cliff Lee) who doesn’t mind being a hired gun and throwing home life stability (I don’t know what kind of family he has) to the wind.

First, he develops his talents in Cleveland.  When they can’t afford him, he jumps to Philadelphia to help them make the World Series in 2009.  In 2010, he starts out with the “promising” Mariners, but when they completely collapse he is dealt to Texas and helps THEM get the big show.

Now, after being courted by the Yankees and Rangers, he decides to go back to Philly to join a starting rotation that would also include Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, Cole Hamels, and Joe Blanton.

What a crazy guy (although, the kind of checks he’s cashing must be incredible)!  I guess if you don’t mind not setting down roots anywhere, more power to him.

MVPS: More Traditional Than Cy-Young

josh-hamilton.jpg
New+York+Mets+v+Cincinnati+Reds+EwQ3z5Ejmoxl.jpgFirst of all, congratulations to both Josh Hamilton and Joey Votto for their respective 2010 MVP Awards.  They both would have been my picks as well.

Whereas the AL Cy-Young award may have been a bit of a change in favor of stats (Felix Hernandez winning “just” 13 games), the MVP’s were a bit more traditional this year, given out to two cleanup hitters who flatout did their jobs.

Without either player, I don’t think the Texas Rangers or Cincinnati Reds make the playoffs in ’10 (or at least not quite as easily as they did).  They both just did what a fourth hitter should do: rake the ball, hit for extra base power, and drive in a plethora of runs.

Are You Watching Closely?

Man, it’s been awhile since I’ve written on this blog. I guess this year, I’m taking the annual loss to the Yankees in the playoffs a bit harder than usual.

To be honest, I’m not even going to comment on that ALDS.  If you are curious as to some analysis about why we were beaten by the Yankees again, just look at two older posts from this blog:

http://zkonedog.files.wordpress.com/2010/10/ramoswilson1.jpgarchives/2009/10/why_we_lost_theory_1_we_beat_o.html

http://zkonedog.files.wordpress.com/2010/10/ramoswilson1.jpgarchives/2009/10/why_we_lost_theory_2_we_were_o.html

Just change around a few of the names and faces, and that (once again) perfectly explains why the Twins can’t quite topple the mighty Yanks (even though a team like Texas doesn’t seem to have much trouble with them).

What I want to look at right now, instead, is a huge missed opportunity.  After seeing Cliff Lee (Game 1 WS start aside) pretty much buzz-saw his way through the playoffs once again, I can’t help but wondering if Twins execs shouldn’t be “watching closely” as to the difference one ace pitcher can make.

Consider this:

Throughout the regular season, the Twins were the far superior team than Texas.  In those final months of the year, we practically ran away with the #2 seed in the American League.  The ultimate turning point, though, came at the All-Star break, when we had a chance at acquiring Mr. Lee…

clifflee3.jpg

However, it seemed as if Wilson Ramos…

RamosWilson.jpg

…was the stumbling block (at least as reported in the papers) as to why the deal fell through.

Basically, the way I understand it, the Twins didn’t want to give up such a touted prospect for a guy who they knew they would only be renting, especially at a time when a playoff spot was not a given at that point.

Here’s what boggles my mind, though.  Ramos eventually did get shipped out of town, but for the services of one Matt Capps, who did relatively nothing to lock down a solid closing role and was a non-factor in the playoffs.

Now, on one hand, I get what the mid-market (with the new stadium) Twins were trying to do, and that is not tie up too much money in a short-term player when our own talent will need to be paid again soon.  I just wish that Twins execs would have taken a page out of the 2009 Vikings handbook.  The Vikes gambled on Brett Favre, and it took them to the NFC Championship game with a magical season.  Why couldn’t the Twins have done the same?!

I truly believe that we were a much better team than the one that lost to the Yankees in a short three games.  We could hit, field, and pitch (despite a lack of a star bullpen) quite well, but we were just missing that one ace who could give us that confidence-building lead in the series.  Cisco and Pavano did their best, but once it got to Duensing it was all but over.

As much as I hate to say it, the window may have just closed a bit.  Thome’s status is uncertain, Hardy/Hudson might both be gone (leading the old faithful Punto/Casilla middle infield that inspires little confidence both on the field and in the box), and who knows if Pavano can put together another inspired season again (if he even does return).  As evidenced by Texas bouncing the Yanks rather easily, they were ripe for the picking this year.  It just would have taken one ace…the one ace we didn’t gamble on.

Twins execs…are you watching closely?

Quick ALDS Preview: Rays vs. Rangers

carl-crawford-ap2.jpgI’ll take the Rays in this one. Not only did they match the Yankees step for step this season, but guys like Carl Crawford (above) can beat you almost single handedly with gap power, speed, and just plain getting on base and wreaking havoc.

Unless Cliff Lee can work his magic again, I don’t think the Rangers can pull this one off (especially at the Trop).

Gags

Before this past weekend becomes too “old news”, I wanted to take a moment to comment on the induction of Greg Gagne into the Minnesota Twins Hall of Fame.

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Here’s the thing: Gagne was solid defensively, did all the “little things” that the Twins organization values, and is the nicest guy you’ll ever chat with.  He also played for both Twins world championship, 1987 and 1991.

The trouble is, Gagne was the epitome of an “average” ballplayer.  His career batting average was .254 (over 15 seasons), and the highest he ever hit in a single season was .280 (and that was post-Twins with the KC Royals).  He hit 111 career homers, stole 109 bases, yet (in one of the most bizarre stats that you’ll never see in today’s game) was actually caught stealing 96 times.  His OPS in any given season never touched .750.

Thus, I can’t say that I agree whatsoever with the Twins’ inception of Gags into their HOF.  I love to see him (and appreciate his contributions) at team reunions and get-togethers, but putting him in cohorts with names like Killebrew, Oliva, Carew, and Puckett really only cheapens that selection group.

However, I have only congratulations for Mr. Gagne now that the deed has been done.  I’m sure it is a great thrill for him.

One other quick note: The Twins once again put on a great show last weekend with their 50th Anniversary Celebration.  The 50 Greatest Twins ceremony was great, while the old-timers game provided a lot of laughs (Kent Hrbek’s divot, primarily) and good memories.  Like Gene Washington taking his hacks with his new team (the Rangers) standing on the top step laughing their butts off…

Rangers_Twins_Baseball_sff_192066_game.jpg

Best Of The West?

Rangers_Twins_Baseball_sff_173980_game.jpgBefore this weekend series, the Texas Rangers were battling for first place in the AL West.  They still are, but now do so just two games over .500 thanks to a three-game sweep by the Twins.

Boy, so far this season is shaping up pretty much like last year (with one key difference):

-Twins beat up on the AL Central (same as ’09)

-Twins cannot touch the AL East (same as ’09)

-Twins beat up on the AL West (different from ’09 and the reason why we are considered a much better team this season).

This bodes well for the start of a rather lengthy west coast road swing starting on Monday in Seattle.

Notes:

-Scary moment at the end of Sunday night’s contest when Denard Span collided with Orlando Hudson on the final play of the game.  Both were a bit slow to get up, with Hudson taking a really long time to get to his feet and likely not playing for a day or so.  Don’t have any official word yet, but the loss of Hudson for any prolonged period would be a big blow to our infield configuration (Casilla playing every day is NOT something I am comfortable with).

Preview (30-20, 1st, 3.5 GA DET): Francisco Liriano (4-3, 3.17) vs. Doug Fister (3-2, 2.03)

2010 MLB Picks

crystal-ball.jpgMy “official” predictions for the 2010 MLB season (before the season gets too far along and starts to affect my judgement!):

AL East

New York

Boston (Wild Card)

Tampa Bay

Baltimore

Toronto

AL Central

Minnesota

Chicago

Kansas City

Detroit

Cleveland

AL West

Los Angeles

Oakland

Texas

Seattle

NL East

Philadelphia

Atlanta (Wild Card)

New York

Florida

Washington

NL Central

St. Louis

Chicago

Milwaukee

Cincinnati

Houston

Pittsburgh

NL West

San Francisco

Los Angeles

Arizona

Colorado

San Diego

AL Champ: New York

NL Champ: Atlanta

World Series Champ: Atlanta Braves

Questions, comments, rants, profanity-laced tirades?!

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