Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Garza impresses; everyone else does not

We finally got the performance we've all been waiting for from Matt Garza. 7.2 IP, only 2 ER, and 7 strikeouts. He was efficient and in the strike zone, went deep into the game, and struck some guys out.

Only problem: the Twins still lost.

That's because "All-Star" Mark Redman shut them out on 5 hits. Let me repeat: Mark Redman threw a CG Shutout. That lowered Redman's ERA to a stellar 5.47. This would be more depressing if this didn't happen to the Twins often. I swear, throw a junk-ball lefty and you will have success against the Twins lineup.

The Sox won, so that puts the Twins back at 0.5 GB of the Wildcard lead. Today, the Twins will send Boof Bonser to the mound to take on Luke Hudson. He's not a junkball lefty, so that helps. Twins need to win these games that they should, especially at home. Otherwise that series to end the year may not be significant at all.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

2 out of 3 ain't bad!

So it was a disappointing game on Sunday, with Carlos Silva laying yet another thing. But if you had told me coming in we'd win 2 of 3, I'd have taken that. Which is, of course, what the Twins did, leaving Chicago with a 1/2 game lead in the Wildcard and only 5 games behind the Detroit Tigers.

Now the Twins get a day off before heading back home for a 3-game series with the Kansas City Royals. Meanwhile, the Sox will stay home as the Tampa Bay Devil Rays come to town. Here's the breakdown of the schedules the rest of the way, with how many games they have against each opponent:

Minnesota Twins
KC: 7 (home)
DET: 4 (home)
CWS: 3 (home)
CLE: 4 (away)
NYY: 3 (away)
BOS: 3 (away)
BAL: 3 (away)
TB: 3 (away)
OAK: 3 (home)

Chicago White Sox
MIN: 3 (away)
KC: 3 (away)
CLE: 7 (4 home / 3 away)
DET: 3 (home)
BOS: 3 (away)
TB: 3 (home)
LAA: 3 (away)
OAK: 3 (away)
SEA: 4 (home)

Minnesota: 76-53
Chicago: 76-54

Um yeah. That 3-game series to end the season might be pretty important, I think.

Saturday, August 26, 2006


I don't really have much to add about the game, as places like Bat-Girl or Nick & Nick's do, but I just wanted to say WOW!

What a game, what a comeback, what pitching from the pen, what a bizarre finish... wow wow wow!! Especially in a game of this magnitude, as even though there's lots of time left,a 1/2 game lead is much better than being down 1.5 games.

Now hopefully Johan can guarantee us a series win today!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Gotta love that pitching staff

There are some days, like Tuesday, when a guy will give up 5 HR and it's easy to get frustrated with the staff. Then are days like yesterday, when a young guy throws a great game, and the bullpen does the rest.

Matt Garza got his first Major-League win by throwing 6 solid innings, giving up just 1 unearned run on 5 hits. (Aaron Gleeman has a great writeup on the start) Then the bullpen came in and did their job, to the tune of 3 perfect innings. Meanwhile, the offense wasn't very efficent but they did score 4 runs, and the formula for success was in full effect again.

I know ERA is not a great stat for relievers, but look at these things:

Pat Neshek - 0.81
Dennys Reyes - 0.96
Juan Rincon - 2.44
Joe Nathan - 1.53

Offensively, the 4-5-6 hitters supplied the power and runs, as Mike Cuddyer got 3 hits, Justin Morneau had his 108th RBI of the year, and Torii Hunter hit his 18th HR of the year. That was enough to overcome 10 men LOB for the Twins, which is not good at all.

The White Sox victory means the Twins are still 0.5 GB of the Wildcard, but only 7 out of the division lead. The Red Sox also remain in the hunt at 4 GB of the Wildcard. The rubber match of the series will feature Boof Bonser against Kris Benson in another big game for the Twins... they just have to keep winning series!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Nothing hurt

A loss is never good, but with Chicago and Boston also losing, the Twins remain just a half game behind the White Sox for the Wildcard lead.

But that doesn't mean this isn't disappointing. 3 HR for Nick Markakis? Really? That's basically the story of the game, because when the SP gives up 5 HR, things aren't going well.

The poor performance from Silva brought up an interesting comment from diehard ct twins fan in the comments section:

Looks like the Twins should have put Lohse back in the rotation instead of Silva before. I know Lohse what somewhat of a head case but you can't argue with what he's doing with the Reds. Then again, it is the NL.

When Lohse started this year, he was just ridiculously bad. He was walking a lot of guys, he didn't strike out too many, and had given up a fairly high amount of HR. He was demoted, brought back and put in the pen, did decently well, and then was traded, much to my delight.

In Cincy, all he's done in 5 games (4 starts) is throw 27.1 IP, give up just 5 ER while striking out 26. Is it all because of the NL? Would he have been able to do this for the Twins? Who knows. Baseball is a funny game.

All I know is that at the time Lohse was traded, Liriano was the best pitcher in the game, Johan was Johan, and Radke was solid. Now, we can't get consistent starts from any of the back 3 in the rotation. Hindsight in 20/20, and it might be nice to have Lohse now seeing what's happened, but it was hard to see this coming.

Anyway, time to move on, especially with Matt Garza on the hill tonight against Rodrigo Lopez and the Os. If the Twins are going to make a run, Garza needs to step up and pitch at least somewhat to his potential. He's got great stuff, and in time he'll make a great pitcher, I just hope it's sooner rather than later. But it's hard to talk negative about him, seeing as he's only made 2 Major League starts. Let's hope he gets turned around, and who knows, maybe the Twins can take the Wildcard lead!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Formula for Success

Best starter in baseball + Best bullpen in baseball + Patient lineup = Success?

That seems to be the formula the Twins are using right now, and I'm certainly not complaining.

Johan Santana appears to be his normal self, the bullpen is dominant, and while the lineup doesn't have a lot of power, but they're 5th in the AL in OBP (.349, including OBP leader Joe Mauer) which wears down pitchers.

All in all, they're just 1/2 game out of the Wildcard race with the White Sox loss to Detroit, and now they head to Baltimore for a 3-game set. Here's the pitching matchups:

Tuesday: Carlos Silva (8-10, 6.30) vs. Adam Loewen (3-4, 6.07)
Wednesday: Matt Garza (0-2, 11.74) vs. Rodrigo Lopez (9-12, 6.43)
Thursday: Boof Bonser (2-4, 5.51) vs. Kris Benson (10-9, 6.43)

Wow. 6 pitchers, and only 1 has an ERA below 6. That's a whole lotta mediocrity. For the Twins starters, there only goal (at least these backend guys) should be to get to the 5th or 6th inning in a close ballgame, because after the bullpen (more of than not) can come in and take over the game. It's that simple.

With the Sox still facing the Tigers, this could be a great time to pick up more ground and hopefully pass Chicago, especially with the 3-game set in Chicago this weekend.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Twins Bullpen = Best in the MLB

And I have the numbers to back it up!

For one thing, they have the best bullpen ERA in all of baseball at 3.10. But even beyond that, they're just so effective because they don't walk batters and they strike a lot of guys out. And that's generally a pretty good formula. Here it is broken down, with the MLB rank in parenthesis:

ERA - 3.10 (1)
WHIP - 1.23 (1)
K/BB - 3.38 (1)
K/9 - 8.34 (3)
HR - 25 (1)
OBP Against - .304 (2)
SLG Against - .361 (2)
OPS Against - .665 (1)

Not bad. Looking at them individually almost makes things more impressive.

Joe Nathan - 51.0 IP, 1.59 ERA, 0.82 WHIP, 72/10 K/BB, 12.71 K/9
Juan Rincon - 56.2 IP, 2.22 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 50/17 K/BB, 7.94 K/BB
Denys Reyes - 34.1 IP, 1.05 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, 33/7 K/BB, 8.65 K/9
Pat Neshek - 20.0 IP, 0.90 ERA, 0.45 WHIP, 30/3 K/BB, 13.50 K/9
Jesse Crain - 58.2 IP, 4.45 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 47/15 K/BB, 7.21 K/9
Matt Guerrier - 40.1 IP, 3.12 ERA, 1.61 WHIP, 23/16 K/BB, 5.13 K/9

And when you consider that Willie Eyre and his 6.48 ERA is not pitching any more high-leverage inning, and the fact that Crain had an awful start to the year but has been very effective in the past couple of months, the 3.10 ERA doesn't even do justice to how good this bullpen is right now.

Take a look at Pat Neshek's numbers. Hardly anyone knows about this guy, but in 20 IP he has struck out 30 guys, walked 3, and allowed just 6 hits. 2 of those were solo HR, and that's the only runs he's allowed this year. If I was playing a video game, I'd be hard-pressed to replicate these numbers. And he's 25 and in his first year of service. Not bad.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Is Joe Mauer a legitimate MVP Candidate?

We all know the story. He's been hyped up in magazines and websites like this all across the sports world. Mostly because he's a 23 year-old catcher leading the world in batting average.

But is he a legitimate MVP candidate?

Or rather, since David Ortiz probably has the award all but locked up at this point, should he be? Fortunately for me, as I only discovered after I started writing this, Joe Sheehan wrote about the AL MVP race as a whole, which was nice because that cuts down some of my research.

Anyway, when I say David Ortiz has this race all but locked up, IMO, isn't because I think he's the best player in the AL. I wrote once upon a time that Travis Hafner is the best hitter in the American League, and I still hold true to that belief. But I think Ortiz is percieved as being such a clutch god that he'll be voted the MVP. Which I wouldn't necessarily say is a bad thing, but not something I agree with.

So anyway, as I see it, the MVP candidates: Travis Hafner, David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez, Derek Jeter, Joe Mauer, Grady Sizemore, and Vernon Wells. Guys like Jim Thome, Justin Morneau, Johan Santana, and even Roy Halladay are tough omissions, but I think those guys mentioned are the top 7. Here's the more "traditional" stats for the 7 (AVG/OBP/SLG):

Travis Hafner: 303/428/640
David Ortiz: 287/399/624
Manny Ramirez: 323/432/625
Derek Jeter: 341/419/476
Joe Mauer: 361/441/522
Grady Sizemore: 304/384/537
Vernon Wells: 320/378/585

It's safe to say that things are pretty even all-around, especially when you consider that the guys at the top in hitting contribute little to nothing defensively. Ortiz and Hafner are full-time DHs, and Ramirez is average at best in LF. Meanwhile, Joe Mauer is a very good defensive catcher, Grady Sizemore and Vernon Wells are both very solid defensive CFs, and even Derek Jeter has improved his range enough to be pretty decent defensively at SS.

Looking specifically at Mauer, one of the only negatives about his game right now is that he doesn't hit many HRs. Which is true. However, he makes up for that, at least IMO, with his great batting average, good number of walks (which contribute for his league-leading OBP), and a good amount of doubles. For all of the talk about the lack of power, Mauer's still in the top 15 in SLG in the AL, which is pretty darn good.

As far as VORP goes, Travis Hafner leads the MLB in it even without playing defense. He actually has a pretty substantial lead, with teammate Grady Sizemore second, followed by Manny Ramirez, Derek Jeter, Joe Mauer, and then David Ortiz.

Looking at EQA, Manny Ramirez has the slight lead. When we look at WARP1, Joe Mauer has a slight lead over Grady Sizemore.

So what does all that mean? Probably nothing. Or just that this year more than ever there are a lot of qualified candidates in the American League for the MVP award. For what it's worth, here's what my list would look like at this point:

1) Travis Hafner
2) Manny Ramirez
3) Joe Mauer
4) David Ortiz
5) Derek Jeter

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Who are those guys?

A few days ago, the Twins were in the Wildcard lead, they were playing great baseball on the road, and things generally looked really good.

Three days later, they get shut out by a combination of Scott Downs, Brian Tallet, Brandon League, and Scott Schoeneweiss en route to a 4-0 loss which dropped them down to 3rd in the Wildcard standings and 2.5 games behind the White Sox.

Today Brad Radke gets the start, needing something similar to what he did last game to salvage at least 1 game of this 4-game series. Starting for the Blue Jays will be Shaun Marcum and his 4.81 ERA, which would seem to give the Twins the advantage.... but as we've seen this series, the pitching matchup doesn't matter. Twins just need to hit.

One thing is for sure, the Twins sure haven't looked like a playoff team so far in this series.

Friday, August 11, 2006

About that back of the rotation...

Throughout the year the weakness of the Twins has been the back of the rotation, and that was even before Liriano went down. Baker, Bonser, Lohse, Mike Smith, etc. all tried and pretty much failed.

However, as the season wore on, it looked like we had our ace in the hole - Matt Garza. His Minor League numbers were fabulous, he has great stuff, and it was almost like everyone (myself included) expected him to come up and immediately continue with the domination.

All of that came down with a thud on Friday, as Garza allowed 7 runs in 2 2/3 innings. Granted, it was against a good offensive team in Toronto, but it doesn't help ease any fears about an already think back of the rotation. Boff Bonser starts Saturday, and if he continues to pitch how he has basically all year in the Majors, well, we have a problem.

The White Sox and Red Sox also won, putting the Twins 1.5 games out of the Wildcard just 2 days after they had taken the lead in the race. It's not too unexpected for them to fall back at this point and you can't get too worried, since they're right in it, but it's disheartening to see them claw their way to taking 2 of 3 in Detroit and then come back home and get hammered in 2 stright to Toronto.

Hopefully things pick up in the weekend.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Minnesota Twins: Wildcard Leader

We've got a lot of season to go, so the fact that the Twins have a 1/2 game lead in the Wildcard chase isn't overly significant. However, with the way the first two months of the season went, I never thought I'd be able to write that title (and the fact that I didn't have this blog at the time!)

But either way, after a dramatic 4-3 comeback win on Wednesday, the Twins own a 1/2 game lead on the White Sox and a 1.5 game lead on the Red Sox. For the second straight day, the Royals pulled out a win against Boston, this time using 9th inning dramatics, scoring 2 off of Papelbon in the 9th to win 5-4.

The big story, at least for the Twins, is that we finally have another 30 HR player, for the first time since 1987. Not only was it HR #30 for Morneau, but it also gives him 101 RBI for the year. Perhaps most impressive, since he had a .248 career average coming into the year is that his average currently stands at .322. I'm kinda beating this over the head, but Morneau is definitely an MVP candidate, especially for hitting one of the most memorable Twins HR since that AJ Pierzynski one in the playoffs.

Johan was dominant for 6 innings, but just lef that one pitch up to Inge, which was crushed out of the park. But he still went 7 strong innings, struck out 10, and was rewarded with his 13th win. For the 2nd straight night, Rincon/Nathan shut down the door in the 8th and 9th, although Denys Reyes did come in to get Granderson out. Nathan now has 25 saves on the year.

After all the struggles on the road for the Twins, they finish up this roadtrip at 6-1. Sure, 4 of the games were against Kansas City, but now that we see what Kansas City is doing to Boston, they begin to look more impressive. And taking 2 of 3 from what has been the best team in baseball? Well, that's always nice.

Now the Twins head home for a 4-game set with the Blue Jays. The Jays have been struggling lately, but they're still a dangerous team. Although one piece of good news, Halladay pitched on Wednesday for Toronto, so hopefully that means the Twins will get to avoid him in this series. Although with a couple of rookies starting Friday and Saturday, they won't be able to take anything for granted.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Twins actually win in Comerica Park

Yes, it's true. For once this year, it finally happened. Brad Radke was fantastic, the bullpen shut them down late, and the Twins got just enough offense for a 4-2 victory.

Radke threw 7 innings, giving up 2 runs in the 2nd, but holding the Tigers at bay for the rest of his game (with a little help from Tyner and Mauer). He spread out 9 hits and 1 BB, but it was enough for his 11th win. Not bad for a guy that was 4-6 with a 7.44 ERA at one point this year.

Offensively, this was all about the top of the lineup. Luis Castillo got a couple of hits and scored a couple of runs, Nick Punto got 3 hits, and Joe Mauer got 3 hits to go along with a couple of RBI. Mauer's average now stands at a stellar .367, which is good, I think.

With the loss of the Red Sox to the Royals, the Twins move up to 2nd in the Wildcard race, and are still just half a game behind the White Sox, who got a 9th-run HR from Paul Konerko to tie the game against the Yankees before winning it in 11 innings.

Either way, definitely in a much better mood than last night, when all we knew was that Liriano was hurt again, and the Twins still couldn't win in Detroit. Now Matt Garza was called up, the Twins held on for a nice win, and all is right with the world. For one day at least.

Matt Garza's Minor League Stats

A - 5-1, 1.42 ERA, 53:11 K:BB in 44.1 IP
AA - 6-2, 2.51 ERA, 68:14 K:BB in 57.1 IP
AAA - 3-1, 1.85 ERA, 33:7 K:BB in 34.0 IP

Hopefully he's as good as advertised!

Monday, August 07, 2006


From the Star Tribune:

Francisco Liriano, Minnesota's rookie All-Star, is out indefinitely with what appears to be a left elbow injury.


In a quiet postgame clubhouse, Liriano, 22, seemed on the verge of tears, and his voice crackled as he described the pain, pointing to the inside of the elbow this time, beneath the muscle and possibly in the joint.


"I couldn't even throw the fastball, slider, changeup anything," Liriano said. "It bothered me every pitch I threw."

From the Twins website:

But it's not even close to the type of blow that the Twins could receive in the coming days if the news on starter Francisco Liriano is as bad as it appears to be.

Liriano pitched just four innings in the club's 9-3 loss to the Tigers at Comerica Park on Monday night before being pulled due to pain near his left elbow that flared up again.

The Twins 22-year-old rookie phenom was skipped over for his last start, due to the inflammation that he had in his left forearm. An MRI revealed no structural damage to the arm and the thought was that 10 days of rest would solve the problem.

But this time, the pain returned in what Liriano deemed a different spot and it seems to be worse than before. It's something that has even caused Liriano to be a bit scared of what may be causing the pain.

"I am, because it really bothered me a lot and I don't know what it is," Liriano said of being more concerned than he was before. "I couldn't throw my fastball, changeup, slider -- it bothered me on every pitch I throw.

"It really bothers me because it's getting worse."

All we can do is hope for the best. :(

We needed Soriano?

Ok, I know it was only the Royals, but look at these 4-game totals:

Runs: 41
Hits: 56
BB: 36
XBH: 18
Wins: 4

Doesn't get much better than that.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

That's more like it

For the second straight night, the Twins got a lot of walks (14) and a lot of hits (12). Unlike last night, however, these baserunners were converted into a lot more runs. 14 of them, to be exact.

The scoring was started off in the 3rd with a 3-run HR from Justin Morneau, his 29th of the year, and giving him 97 RBI for the year, 2nd in the American League behind that one DH guy in Boston. Yes, it should be official... Morneau is an MVP candidate. Not only is he hitting for power with the 29 HR, but he's hitting for a good average and is improving his OBP, such as Friday when he got on base in all 6 PAs. He's batting .323, but his OBP is up at .378 and he's slugging over .600. Here's Morneau's numbers in the 23 games since the AS Break:

.402 ABG/.465 OBP/.667 SLG. 6 HR and 24 RBI.

Mauer also had a nice night, as even though he only had one hit, that hit was a double driving in 2 runs, and he also walked 3 times. His .445 OBP is tops in the MLB, which is just a testament to his great eye at the plate, especially since he doesn't hit for as much power as some of those other guys close by. Oh yeah, and he's a 23 year-old catcher. That's pretty decent.

Anyway, Twins look for the sweep Sunday, sending virtual unknown Mike Smith to the mound to take on Odalis Perez. With the Twins win and Red Sox loss, they are now just 1.5 games behind the Chicago White Sox for the Wildcard lead. Hopefully they can get the job done and finish the sweep!

Friday, August 04, 2006

Twins walk their way to a victory

It was nothing to write home about, but the Twins will take it. By the end of the game, the Twins left lots of men on base, but with back-to-back HR in the 9th, followed by 3 more runs in the 10th, it didn't matter.

And it was especially important to pick up the win, because the teams the Twins are chasing - Detroit, Chicago, Boston, and New York - all won their games.

By the time it was all said and done, the Twins had 12 BB, 11 hits, and 8 runs. Not terribly efficient, but they scored when they had to. Down 5-3 in the 9th, Joe Mauer led off the inning with his 9th HR of the year, and Michael Cuddyer followed that up with his 15th (not in this game, that'd be a record). The 10th inning was kind of symbolic of the Royals franchise:

Jason Bartlett singles.
Luis Castillo sacrifice bunt.
Nick Punto strikes out.
Joe Mauer intentionally walked.
Michael Cuddyer walked.
Wild pitch scores the run.
Justin Morneau intentionally walked.
Torii Hunter single drives in 2 more runs.
Joe Nathan pitches a perfect 10th for his 23rd save.

Lots of Twins players had good offensive games, but perhaps none more efficent than Justin Morneau. After doubling in his first 2 ABs (and picking up 3 RBI in the process), he walked the next 4 times up. That'll sure help the OBP.

Meanwhile, and I don't say this to be a downer, but Johan Santana has not been his usual invincible self. Normally, with a 3-run lead facing Kansas City, the game is pretty much money in the bank. Not so much on Friday, as the 4-run 4th for the Royals was enough for the Royals to hang on to the lead until the 9th. Johan walked 3 batters in his 6 innings of work, though he also struck out 8.

But all of the worrying about Johan or all the men LOB doesn't really matter anymore, because a win makes one forget about all of that. Carlos Silva (7-9, 6.49) will take the mound on Saturday facing Runelvys Hernandez (2-6, 7.88). 2 games in, the Twins have done what they needed to do against KC. Hopefully they can continue, because as the other teams showed tonight, the Twins better keep winning if they hope to keep pace.

The Royals are the cure for any slumps

After getting thrashed the past couple of days against the Rangers, well, it's always good to be able to take a trip to Kansas City.

The Twins went right back to their winning ways with an 8-2 victory in KC last night. Minnesota jumped out to a 2-0 lead after the first, picked up 4 more in the 2nd, and that was all she wrote.

The starting pitchers told the story of this game. Jorge de la Rosa had as many walks as he did outs (4) on his way to 6 runs (5 ER). On the other hand, Brad Radke threw 8 solid innings and gave up just 4 hits and 2 ER, which was especially encouraging because his last start was cut short due to injury/ineffectiveness. If the Twins are going to be a factor coming down the stretch, they need more of this from Radke. The Twins will also need better pitching from the backend of the rotation... maybe from Matt Garza? One Twins fan doesn't think so, at least, not yet.

Offensively, the Twins got a little help from everyone. Justin Morneau had 2 hits and 3 RBI, and for all the talk about Joe Mauer, Morneau might be the best hitter on the team. Meanwhile, Josh Rabe hit another HR, and he's playing like a man that doesn't want to go back to the Minors. Like Jason Tyner when he came up, it's probably not realistic to expect these guys to be good starters for too long, but I'm enjoying this while it lasts.

Tonight is game 2 of this 4-game series, with Johan Santana on the mound against "All-Star" Mark Redman. On paper, the Twins are the favorites, but we all know that these games aren't played on paper, but by little men in our TV sets. Twins stand 2 back of the Wildcard.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

This was a nice surprise

So I'm just checking to see who's been checking this blog out, and I see there's a link here from SI.com, which was a nice surprise. So anyway, welcome to all of you coming over from there, comment, and I hope you enjoy it.

And if you're looking for any Liriano news, he's expected to make his next start either Sunday or Monday after learning that for the second straight month he's the AL Rookie of the Month. So he has that going for him, which is nice.

And that other guy we got in the trade, Joe Nathan? He's doing pretty well too, with a 1.60 ERA and 22 saves in 23 opportunities.

So thanks for stopping by, and go Twins! They start a 4-game series with the Royals in about an hour.

Letter to the baseball gods

Please tell me that Liriano being scratched from his start Wednesday is just a precautionary measure, and not the sign of a more serious problem, and that he'll be fine from hear on out. We need him, like, a lot.


Tuesday, August 01, 2006

15 runs? For the Twins?

The pitchers may not have had the most impressive display of arms on the mound yesterday, but even so, the offensive explosion from the Twins was a rare treat.

They started things off with 5 in the first, 3 in the second, 3 more in the 4th and 5th, and added 1 more in the 6th just for good measure. By the time it was all said and done, a 15-2 win is looking pretty good.

Pretty much everyone on offense contributed, but they were led by the return of Torii Hunter (3/5, 1 HR, 4 RBI), Nick Punto (4/4), and Justin Morneau (3/4, 2 RBI). Morneau's average is now incredibly up to .321, 6th in the American League. Has there been a better hitter in baseball the past couple months?

But we know all about that, so let's focus on the pitching. Carlos Silva had a superb performance against a very good offense, tossing 7 innings and allowing only 1 run. If he can continue to make starts like this, well, it's going to make the decision to keep Matt Garza in AAA a whole lot easier. Now, if Scott Baker can turn in a similar performance today, and all of a sudden the rotation looks to be in solid shape.

The other big news of the day of course was that the Twins were able to finally unload Kyle Lohse to the Reds, getting Zach Ward back in return, a guy that actually looks pretty decent. Once again, Terry Ryan always doesn't make the big moves that catch the headlines, but he does the solid, little things that improves the depth of the organization and should help for the future.

However you look at it, a great day for Minnesota Twins baseball.