Results tagged ‘ Yankees ’

Who Will Be “The One”?

Alright, Twins starting pitchers, who’s going to be “the one” to step up and give us a really quality outing.  I don’t care if it IS against the Yanks.  It’s got to start happening.  Baker?  Duensing?  Will you be the first?

Preview (1-2, T-3, 1.5 GB KCR): Scott Baker (0-0, 0.00) vs. Ivan Nova (0-0, 0.00).

Down To Willie

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Well, of the trio that comprises the chorus of that famous song, now only Willie Mays remains on this earth, what with the recent passing of Duke Snider.
 
Obviously, comparing those three star outfielders was a buzzy topic in the 1950s, and this article really nails why it was such a hot topic:
 
 
The reason, of course, was that there was no “wrong answer”!  Willie, Mickey Mantle, and the Duke all put together monster seasons.  If you liked all-around play, Mays was your man.  If you preferred the dramatic homers, obviously you’d root for the Mick.  If you liked the solid underdog who just keeps his mouth shut and still puts up great numbers, than the Duke was for you.
 
About the closest I’ve ever come to this sort of “quandary” was in the late 1990s with these three guys:
 
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Nomar Garciaparra, Derek Jeter, and A-Rod dominated SS in the American League for quite a few seasons. I was always partially to “Nomah”, but you couldn’t go wrong with any of them.

Andy Pettitte: HOF?

Andy Pettitte retired this week.  Putting aside the steroid stuff for a moment, I believe he belongs in the HOF five or so years from now.

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The raw stats (240 wins, high-ish 3.88 ERA) might not bear this statement out, but (at least to me) what Pettitte always signified was “winning”.  This guy just, plain and simply, won ballgames.  His overall winning % is .635 over 16 seasons, and if you look at the stats there are just so many seasons where he won 9-10 more games than he lost.

Plus, Pettitte was the epitomy of a big-game pitcher.  Sure, he got the chance to pitch under the October lights so many times because of his Yankee pinstripes, but his career postseason #’s are 19-10, 3.83, in 263 innings.  So, basically, he pitched an entire season in the postseason, and almost exactly duplicated his regular-season stats (high win percentage, highest-3’s ERA).  Not bad at all on the biggest of stages for the biggest of teams.  When he pitched against my Twins in a big game, I had very little hopes for pulling out a victory.

The one problem, of course…

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Andy Pettitte is inside that steroid cloud based on his relationship with Roger Clemens.  In fact, Pettitte admitted using HGH on multiple occasions, supposedly in order to heal an injury and help return to the team faster, not necessarily to improve performance (definitions, definitions, I know).  I’m usually wary of these guys, but for whatever reason I’ll give Pettitte the benefit of the doubt.  Considering that no firm anti-doping rules were in place before the mid-2000s, players in a situation like Pettitte’s WERE likely unsure what was “right” or “wrong” to do chemically and still play by the rules.  While I truly believe that Clemens knew that what he was doing was wrong but did it anyway because he just didn’t care, I think that Pettitte was caught in that grey area of past steroid usage.

Thus, if I’m voting, I’m putting Mr. Pettitte in the Hall.

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.

How I Know I’m A Blogger…

The other day, I realized that I’ve started to think like a blogger.  As soon as I heard the news that Carl Crawford…

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…was nabbed by the Boston Red Sox, my first thought wasn’t even about the unfairness of the baseball economic system or even the rising of a new “Evil Empire” (the fact that it’s the Yankees, Red Sox, and everyone else right now).

No, my first thought went to Rays Renegade (a fellow MLBlog) and how disappointed he must have been to lose his star talent.  Hang in there, man, it happened to me with Torii Hunter and Johan Santana, too.  The Twins still thrived without those talents, and I’m sure the Rays can too (granted, making the playoffs is a thousand times more difficult in that division).

Gardy Finally Gets It

ron-gardenhire-minnesota-twins-mlb.jpgOld news, I know, but I just wanted to make sure to congratulate Ron Gardenhire on his 2010 manager of the year award.  After taking second place SO MANY times in this category, he finally pulled in the well-deserved hardward for guiding the Twins to the Central Division championship this season.

Gardy has one thorn in his side: beating the Yankees.  Other than that inexplicable almost complete failure, he is the best manager a team could ask for.  He loves baseball, knows his stuff, is great at keeping an even-keel, and just overall seems like a down-to-earth good guy.

So Gardy, congrats again and hopefully you’ll be bringing home a new trophy in ’11…one with a few more flags on it! 

Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down

Thumbs Up:

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Joe Mauer winning the AL Gold Glove award for catchers. Doesn’t get much better behind the plate.  Was surprised to NOT see Torii Hunter’s name included in the group.  It’s been awhile since that happened.

Thumbs Down:

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Yep, it’s probably going to happen.  Ho hum…just another lefthanded ace to shut us down when we see them again in the 2011 ALDS.

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…

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However, it seemed as if Wilson Ramos…

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…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?

Was It Over When The Germans Bombed Pearl Harbor? NO!

At the old Metrodome, when the Twins were down going into the final inning, this pump-up video would play on the Jumbotron:

C’mon Twins…don’t go down meekly again!

Tomorrow

Okay, deep breath Twins fans.  Remember, in ’03 and ’04 we won the first game of those ALDS (and in NY no less), but still couldn’t get the job done.  Tomorrow is a new day, and we don’t know which Andy Pettitte will show up: the one who dominates us, or the one who couldn’t do anything at the end of this season.

Going into this series, I just wanted the Twins to split those first two games at Target Field.  Obviously, that can still be accomplished.

Losing the first game of a playoff series is a lot like losing the first game of the regular season in that everybody panics.  Sure, the sample size is much smaller now, but there is still a good amount of baseball to be played.

Tomorrow.

Preview: Andy Pettitte vs. Carl Pavano

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