Thursday, June 23, 2011

Random Twins Notes and a Word on Rivalries

It's tough to see the hometown team lose on a night in which the Indians and Tigers both won, but hey, there are gonna be bumps in the road and the Twins ran into a pitcher, in Vogelsong, who's been on a roll lately. The Twins didn't really help themselves out, committing three errors in the game and staying mostly silent at the plate, but Delmon Young and Michael Cuddyer continued their hot streaks with 2-hits each in the game. The Twins will have a tall task in the rubber match of the series this afternoon as they face two-time Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum. Lincecum has struggled of late so perhaps the Twins aren't getting the best version of him. The Twins will throw out left-hander Brian Duensing who has been pretty effective in June allowing only 5 earned runs over his last 16 innings of work. Duensing will need to continue to be on top of his game if the Twins are going to have a shot at winning this one.

Joe Nathan and Jim Thome are expected to be activated from the DL before the start of Friday's game against the Milwaukee Brewers. Nathan will likely be used as a set-up man right away, but it wouldn't surprise me one bit if he is the team's closer by season's end. Reports have been positive on Nathan especially concerning his velocity and control, both of which were concerns before he was placed on the DL. If he can prove effective, his presence could go a long way in improving the back-end of the Twins bullpen. As for Thome, it's hard to be that optimistic about the remainder of the season for him. Last year the Twins caught lightening in a bottle with Thome as he was healthy most of the season AND hit 25 dingers. This year has been the complete opposite as Thome has already seen the DL twice. I wouldn't be surprised if this is Thome's last season, and if he hits 7 or more homeruns to surpass the 600 mark, I can almost assure you this will be his last season. I'm rooting for the guy to stay healthy, but it's hard to know what to expect.

Justin Morneau and Denard Span both remain on the DL, but things are looking better for Morneau than they are for Span. Nick Nelson had a good piece yesterday on Span's situation and it doesn't sound good. In fact, it sounds a lot like Morneau's situation last season and at this point, Span and the Twins have no idea how long he is going to be out of the lineup. Morneau is supposed to have his soft cast removed tomorrow or Saturday and the thinking is that he might be able to resume baseball activities at some point shortly thereafter. I would guess that if Morneau's wrist is feeling better, he'll be put on some sort of rehab program that would last a week or so. Wrist injuries are notorious for sapping power hitters of their power, so there's no use in rushing Morneau back if his wrist isn't close to 100%.

Late last week I wrote a piece about realignment in baseball and how ridiculous the idea is. Today I was scanning my Facebook news feed when I came across the following exchange. It reminded me how great the rivalries in baseball are, especially among cross-town rivals, enjoy.

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