Monday, June 25, 2007

Twins Might Be More Of A Threat Than Indians

Call it a gut feeling, but I think, ultimately, the American League Central race is going to come down to the Tigers and the Twins rather than the Tigers and the Indians.
Cracks in the Indians’ armor showed over the weekend. They were a base-running blunder by former Tiger Nook Logan away from getting swept by the lowly Nationals in Washington. The Indians seem to be the type of club that can get into a hitting slump - collectively - in a hurry. And I still believe the Indians’ bullpen is built on a house of cards.
Cleveland has a stronger starting rotation than Minnesota overall, but the Twins have the ace in Johan Santana. Minnesota’s bullpen is much stronger. I also like the Twins better offensively now that Joe Mauer is back. It’s my understanding the injury to Justin Morneau isn’t going to keep him out for too long.
The Twins are also better defensively than the Indians, and have this “X” factor with Torii Hunter being motivated by a contract drive. He has never played better.
And the Twins just have this knack for coming through. The same can’t be said for the Tribe. Not in recent years anyway.

Random Thoughts

- I did enjoy watching the U.S. track and field championships Sunday. The 100- and 200-meter dashes are my favorite events, and Tyson Gay put on quite a show winning both. But you hold your breath wondering if he will test positive for something. Unfair? Sure. But it seems like every time a sprinter does something brilliant, that is the case.

- Good for Oregon State winning a second straight College World Series. Oregon dropped its baseball program a long time ago and the Beavers have more than filled the niche. Wonder how NIKE feels about its school being a non-factor in such a visible event. Also, good for a non-Sun Belt or California or Arizona team winning a tournament that has been dominated so by warm weather programs in recent years.

- The Yankees are below .500. So how can Alex Rodriguez be considered a more viable candidate for American League MVP than Magglio Ordonez? If the vote were held today, it shouldn’t even be close. It should be Mags by landslide.

14 Comments:

Anonymous Hollis Keys said...

As usual book you nailed it again. We have been expecting for the Indians to swoon in the second half of the season as you do because as you said that deck of cards cannot stand up to the pressure. And every scoreboard check has to have the question "What are those Twins doing?" because THEY JUST DO NOT QUIT! This weekend is a BIG chance for the Tigers to put some much needed room between themselves and those greatly despised "piranhas" from Minneapolis. Go Tigers!

9:06 AM 
Blogger Fred Brill said...

De ja vous all over again.

Last year it was Chicago that we had to finally over take - only to be chased to the wire by the Twins.

It's like The White Sox were traded to Cleveland for the Indians.

I honestly think we are stronger this year than last. But the truth will come out of course in September as we try to play out the final month - like last year.

The Canuk sports network guys had their "experts panel(?)" on Saturday all agreeing A-Rod was the better man. I have to buy a new remote control because I smashed mine against the wall when I heard that.

I don't think they can hear us when we yell at the TV screen. Can you Book?

I did stuff my 25 votes in the all star ballot box - including my Granderson write in votes. If you haven't - please do the same.

We Canadians don't get to vote much - the Queen usually tells us what to do. This democracy stuff is pretty cool.

12:17 PM 
Anonymous Andrew Winkle said...

Pat the Book,

If the Indians are a house of cards the Twins must be magicians. How can a logical, reasonable person explain the way the Twins keep pace with Lariano on the DL? Must be smoke and mirrors. That's OK, the "Wizard of Woodward" has a few tricks up his sleeve, too. As evidence, I submit an 8-1 road trip to NL parks.

Track and field is great sport and I'm glad to see and read some coverage of it. Causes me to remember when the NCAA indoor championships were held at Cobo Hall in my youth. You remember, track and field, boxing, horse racing and even Stanley Cup hockey, were sports page 1 contests. And poker was only interesting if you played and won.

Maggs for MVP is a no brainer even if you don't live in Michigan. Had to laugh at Fred Brill tossing his remote. Just glad I didn't view such uninformed analysis. Talk about collecting a check for knowing nothing.

When is Curtis going to hit another triple? For my money, there is no more exciting play in baseball. Though a double play or a play at the plate with the runner and catcher colliding are close. I'm hoping he gets three or four on this homestand. One for each series.

1:53 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I keep holding my breath; I remember some disturbing hitting slumps by our guys last year.

Allan

2:59 PM 
Anonymous Lennyw1971 said...

Book, I'm with you on the Twins being scarier. Cleveland scored 6 runs vs. the Nats this weekend. They faced Matt Chico and Jason Simontacchi and did almost nothing against these guys. The Tigers scored 9 or 10 runs off Simontacchi and pounded Matt Chico. Believe it or not, the Tigers know how to get to Sabathia, Jake Westbrook, and Cliff Lee. I don't get the same feeling about their chances against Johan Santana or their bullpen.

Book, you're on point with the track and field. It's a shame when you immediately wonder if these athletes take the needle when they break or approach world records. I watched Marion Jones reach the highest of heights and had no clue that she or her world record-holding boyfriend Tim Montgomery were juicing. Now I wonder if the great Florence Griffith-Joyner took the needle when she smashed records. I think back to her supremely sculpted physique and can't help but wonder.

3:19 PM 
Blogger Eric Chase said...

As much as the Indians COULD slump, Travis Hafner COULD get it together and hit 30 HRs in the 2nd half also. He's been DREADFUL in the 1st half and they're still scoring a ton.

On the other side the Twins will also climb the standings. Just look at Santana's post All Star Game stats - the Twins feed off him and go on ridiculous runs and winning streaks because of him. Joe Mauer getting hurt and missing a good chunk of games could leave him very well rested for the end of the year. Let's remember this is a catcher who won a batting title.

It's going to be a great three team race in September AND October.

4:48 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Hollis Keys,
The Twins do all these little things right that ultimately carry a team through. The Indians are not that sound fundamentally. Victor Martinez defensively, for example.
Until the Twins are going from the Tigers rear view mirror, even if it is behind the Indians, I see the Twins as a bigger threat.
Caputo

7:26 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Fred Brill,
The Indians do remind me some of the 2005 White Sox, although I am not sure their starting pitching is quite as strong. But both those teams had a lot of offense. I kept waiting for the 2005 White Sox to fall apart because of their suspect bullpen. It never happened. Maybe it will work out the same way with these Indians.
Caputo

7:28 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Andrew Winkle,
You and I agree about the triple. Granderson has slumped badly in Atlanta, but he is much more consistent this season. I remember the NCAA indoor title at Cobo. Jim Ryun, the great miler, ran there, among many others. Track and field used to matter - even in years other than the Olympics. I wish it still did. I love it.
Caputo

7:31 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Lennyw1971,
The Indians are one of those feast or famine type of teams offensively. They are due for a slump. Maybe they are having that slump now. Sure looked like it in Washington. Flo Jo, Ben Johnson, Tim Montgomery, Marion Jones...Seems like so many track athletes have records that tainted. As controversial as Carl Lewis was for other reasons, he never had the drug thing hanging over him.
Caputo

7:34 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Allan,
No club is slump proof, but it seems to me the Tigers are built much better to withstand slumps this year compared to last year. Sheffield and Casey have helped in that regard. I think Granderson is much better. So is Inge, now that he has broken out of his early season hitting blues.
Caputo

7:37 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Eric Chase,
I'm with you on this one. It'll probably be a three-team race. I only see the Tigers being capable of pulling away, but their bullpen woes might prevent that. Also, you are correct, in my opinion, about Hafner. He is better than he has shown this season.
Caputo

7:40 PM 
Blogger Fred Brill said...

Book,

Granderson reads your blog - and if Andrew Winkle wants a triple - Curtis obliges.

Andy, keep wishing, but be careful what you wish for!

And put your wite in ballot for Granderson!

9:13 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Fred Brill,
That was a classic tonight. Right up the gap. Granderson is a comparable player to Grady Sizemore. And Sizemore is pretty darn good.
Caputo

1:35 AM 

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