Tuesday, May 29, 2007
As sickening as it is to watch, how many times have we had to sit through the same showing of Metrodome Horrors … infield hits, 0-2 bloops, bunts, balls topped off the plate, our failures to execute. Give credit to the Twins for some of this, but personally, I can’t wait until their new ballpark is finished. I have a hard time even watching games from Minnesota on television.
No question our bullpen has been awful recently, but it was just a few weeks earlier when everyone was singing its praises. With Mac’s struggles to throw strikes (believe me, they are working with him daily), we need David Aardsma to step up. He would be the first to tell you that he didn’t get it done yesterday, although the Hunter hit hurt badly.
We need Mac to pitch well if we want him to win. I am sure most of you will disagree, but in my opinion, many of his issues are related to struggling to throw strikes because of too much movement on his fastball (out of the zone) and an inconsistent slider. While still an issue, I would rather have the problem of a pitcher’s pitches moving too much than the opposite (because we’ve seen those results too over the years).
Remember, this is a guy who posted a 1.80 ERA over 25 games last year. Don’t give up on him yet.
I hope it’s pretty obvious that neither Ozzie nor Kenny will accept failure and changes will be made if we don’t see improvement. At the same time, look around the majors at other bullpens, including Detroit (with the injuries) and Cleveland. The one consistent fact for middle relievers is that there is no consistency.
Tough loss for us and tough injury for Pablo. No one plays harder, and he will be missed.
It’s way too early to put a timeline on his return.
Reading today’s papers (I am not in Minnesota), my take on the AJ/Mourneau incident was this:
Mourneau felt (at his foot or at his elbow or both) AJ brush closely by him on the DP. Maybe AJ said something (now that would be a surprise). Happy for a chance to get back at AJ for what they felt were over-the-line antics at our park last year, the Twins bench got all over AJ (what new). The first base umpire yelled to the Twins bench to cut it out and made a slashing motion across his neck. This angered Ron Gardenhire and brought him out onto the field in a rage. Kudos to Gardy if, in part, his reaction was intended to get a reaction from his club, because it sure did. Sounds like all of the parties have talked and worked it out. My thought is that Gardy had nothing to lose by playing this up during the game and everything to gain, like a victory.
Knowing AJ and how much these two teams love one another, what do you think tonight will bring?
This from today’s Chicago Tribune:
"General manager Ken Williams did not repair the lineup’s dead spots in center field, left field and shortstop and now finds first base, second base and third base underperforming. That’s an epidemic of second-division proportions."
My thought is that Darin Erstad was the best off-season free agent sign in this city through May 29. Guess he doesn’t count …
And how long do any of us expect Paul Konerko, Jermaine Dye, Tadahito Iguchi and Joe Crede to struggle so badly at the plate? JD and PK already are showing great signs of finding their swings since Jim Thome has returned.
Second division? Despite all of our early season frustrations, as I write this, we have the sixth-best record in the American League. Not great. But not awful either considering how this season has gone to date. Let’s keep some perspective.
(Note, not sure why this went to blue font suddenly — or if it is even blue on your screen — but rest assured it doesn’t have anything to do with my mood).