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.