Posted on: October 7, 2009 12:44 am
Posted on: October 5, 2009 12:16 am
By: Christopher Torola
With both the Twins and the Tigers winning their final games, the American League Central Division will be decided with a one game playoff for the second consecutive year. Last year, despite the Twins having beat the White Sox in the season series, the game location was decided by a coin flip. The Twins went on to lose the game 1-0 in Chicago. Many around baseball felt that it was unfair that the Twins didn't get a home field advantage, so the rule was changed. The sentiment around the Twin Cities at the time seemed to be that the rule change came too late to do us any good... Oh what a difference a year makes.
Fast forward to a few weeks ago when the Twins had been losing ground to Detroit in the division race, they had lost perennial MVP candidate Justin Mourneau, the football season had started, and the fan base, myself included, had all but given up on the team. Instead of getting down on themselves, the Twins never gave up. They fought their way back into contention, and after all 162 games have been played, they have earned the right to play at least one more.
Since the Twins have won the season series with the Tigers this year, winning 11 of 18, including going 7-2 on their home field, the game will be held at the Metrodome. The Tigers, having used their Ace Justin Verlander today, will be placing the hopes of their entire season on the shoulders or rookie pitcher Rick Porcello. The Twins will be starting their staff Ace, Scott Baker. In a game that is already a game 7, winner take all, game 163 is set, and I wouldn't have it any other way.
Posted on: September 29, 2009 4:53 pm
Edited on: September 30, 2009 5:08 pm
How is it possible... Twins 1 game back and still have 3 more at Detroit?
By: Christopher Torola
It is now the end of the year and the team holds their playoff destiny in their own hands. This has been a resilient team and is playing well, winning 8 of the last 10 games in spite of being without Justin Morneau. There are now just 6 games left to play, 3 at Detriot and 3 at home against the Royals.
Right now the only games that matter are the next 3 against the Tigers. If the Twins win two of them, they will be tied with 3 games to play. If they lose two of them they will be 2 games back with 3 games to play. If they lose all 3 they are not eliminated, but would need to win all 3 remaining games and have Detroit lose their remaining games just to force a one game playoff. Finally, if they manage to sweep the Tigers on the road, they will be 2 games up with only 3 to go.
In my humble opinion the Twins need to win 5 of the last 6 games, and tonight's may be the hardest to get. It will be Twins rookie Brain Duensing, who is 4-0 over his last six starts, facing Tigers' Ace, Justin Verlander. The Twins have beat Verlander twice during the last two months, including once at Detroit. Joe Mauer has decided to catch the 2nd game of the double header allowing the Twins to keep his bat in the line up without using the DH spot. This is good because it means the Twinks will get to have Jason Kubel's left handed bat in the line up over that of righties Mike Redmond or Jose Morales.
The Twins and their never-give-up attitude will continue to be on display after winning the opening game of the double header in extra innings. Look for the boys from Minnesota to slip past the Tigers to represent the American League Central in the post season.
Posted on: August 2, 2009 9:40 pm
Edited on: August 2, 2009 10:57 pm
No Big Moves For The Home Team.
By: Christopher R Torola
The Minnesota Twins are at 52 - 52, 2 1/2 games out of first place. Behind both the Tigers and the White Sox. It looks like a 3 horse race until the end, but most likely one of the teams will drop out of the race before the end. So the question is, Who will join the Royals and the Indians as spectators during the pennant race and play-offs?
The Twins have the easiest remaining schedule, but they did the least of the 3 prior to the trading deadline. They eeked out a trade for Orlando Cabrera, seemingly to appease Justin Morneau, Joe Mauer, and Joe Nathan more than trying to win come play-off time. They need more than anything another starting pitcher. Having lost Kevin Slowey for the season and an uncertainty with Fransisco Liriano's forearm, the Twins will be in even greater need of rotation help as the year goes on. They were also in need of a a 7th-8th inning guy to go with Matt Guerrier and Jose Mijares, but failed to do so before the trading deadline passed.
The Tigers and the White Sox both faired better in the battle of the trades. The White Sox got both Mark Kotsay and ACE Jake Peavy to bolster their rosters. The Tigers acquired Jarrod Washburn to round out their rotation. They also have a lot more home games left than the Twins.
I still have faith that the Twins will rally to win the division, but with questionable pitching they will most likely be out quickly come the post season when they have to face off with a team like the Red Sox, who picked up 5 players including Casey Kotchman and Victor Martinez.
Posted on: July 6, 2009 8:27 pm
Edited on: July 6, 2009 8:36 pm
By: Christopher Torola
The three game series the Twins played against the Tigers is what baseball is all about. Each game was relatively close, with the possible exception of Sundays game. It seemed that any mistake a player made at any point was likely to cause your team the game.
The Tigers took the series opener in what was truly a marathon of a game. Kevin Slowey pitched only three innings and gave up six runs, putting the Twins behind right out of the gate. Slowey has since been put on the disabled list, and will have his strained wrist looked at. After giving up a couple runs Tigers manager, Jim Leyland, replaced starting pitcher Luke French with Zack Miner so as not to let the game get away from his team. Miner was able to close out the fifth inning, but only recorded one out while giving up five runs to tie the game. Then in the fourteenth inning, Twins super reliever of June, R.A. Dickey gave up a RBI hit to Placido Polanco one pitch after Poloanco fouled a pitch into his own family jewels. In the top half of the inning Michael Cuddyer hit a RBI single scoring Joe Mauer; however, Justin Morneau got thrown out at third base trying to advance on the throw. Dickey then gave up three more earned runs to Polanco in the sixteenth. The Twins were only able to score one unearned in the top half of the inning, losing a heart-breaker to the Tigers.
Fortunately for the Twins they were able to take the next two games, reducing the Tigers lead in the division to just two games.
Justin Morneau is on a complete tear. He was named player of the week for last week, hitting just shy of .500 and blasting four home runs (including a fountain shot in Kansas City). He was also named to his third straight All-Star game. Although the "fans" selected Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira, the players made Justin their top choice. Joe Nathan, like all pitchers, was selected as one of the coaches picks, and Joe Mauer was picked by the fans to start the game. The only player to receive more votes than Mauer was Derek Jeter, take away what you will from that. Some local fans are upset with the "life-time achievement" pick of Tim Wakefield over over Nick Blackburn, who has lowered his era below the 3.00 mark.
The Twins still have two tough series to get through before the All-Star break though, hosting the Yankees and the White Sox. They will need to play well to hold serve with Detroit, as the Tigers will be hosting the Royals and the Indians.
Posted on: May 13, 2009 12:36 am
Edited on: May 14, 2009 4:37 pm
Tuesday: In game one of this series the Twins beat Armando Galarraga and the Tigers 6-2 by continuing to hit the ball hard. In the first inning Tigers' left fielder Clete Thomas robbed Joe Mauer by pulling one back from the other side of the left field fence. In the 2nd Joe Crede hit a 2-run home-run to give the Twins the lead. In the 3rd, Mauer hit one to almost the same spot as he did in the first; however, this one was more of a line drive and remained just out of the reach of Thomas for the Twins 2nd 2-run homer of the game. Jeff Larish hit a solo homer in the 6th, but the the Twins got the run back in the bottom half of the inning when Young beat out a double play. Kevin Slowey pitched 6 innings, spreading out 8 hits and 2 free passes while only allowing the one earned run. Jesse Crain then came in for the 7th and quickly gave up a solo home-run to Ramon Santiago, followed by a 4 pitch walk to Curtis Granderson. Crain was then pulled without recording an out as he raised his era to 7.88. Jose Mijares, Matt Guerrier, and Joe Nathan all pitched perfectly to close out the game; although, with the Tigers giving up a walk to Carlos Gomez, a stolen base, and a Denard Span rbi single in the 8th, it was no longer a save situation for Nathan.Slowey is now 5-1 despite an era just under 5.00. Joe Mauer had his 5th straight multi hit game and is currently batting .500. Yes, .500.
Wednesday: In a game that lasted just shy of 5 hours, in the bottom of the 13th with 2 strikes and 2 outs, Twins' 3rd baseman Joe Crede hit a walk-off grand slam off of Tigers' reliever Brandon Lyon to beat the Tigers 14 - 10. Home base umpire Paul Schrieber seemed to have a bit of an inconsistant strike zone, which resulted in a 14 walks. He also gave Magglio Ordonez a bit of a nudge back to the dugout when Ordonez disagreed with a called strike 3, which would lead to a Jim Leyland ejection. Schrieber has since apologized. The first 8 innings gave us a total of 18 runs, including back to back home runs from Miguel Cabrera and Jeff Larish, as well as a game tying 8th inning pinch-hit blast by Jason Kubel. Brandon Inge and Justin Morneau also hit round trippers.
Then the 9th inning came and the bats cooled down. There were no real scoring threats until the top half of the 13th inning when Curtis Granderson hit a one out triple off of Twins reliever Jesse Crain. He then battled with Placido Polanco, getting him to pop out to shallow left field on a pitch inside. Then with 2 strikes on Josh Anderson, Crain failed to come to a set position, resulting in the go ahead run coming in on a balk.
Thursday: In the get away game both pitchers began the game dealing. The Tigers broke up the shut out with a 5 run inning against Scott Baker in the 6th. In the 7th the Twins finally got to Justin Verlander, who went 6 1/3 with 2 earned runs and 13 strikeouts. The Tigers brought in Bobby Seay to stop the bleeding, but he was unable to do so as he got only one out and was charged with 4 runs, including the go ahead run to Jason Kubel. Joe Crede continues to hit his way into the hearts of Twins fans with the 2 rbi single to score both Kubel and Morneau off of Zack Miner, for Crede's 2nd 2 out game winning hit in 2 days. The Twins' bullpen finished the game smoothly, including Joe Nathan in a 1-2-3 9th to record only his 6th save.
The Twins were able to complete the 3 game sweep of the Tigers to go above .500 for the first time since they lost the 11 inning game to Kansas City on May 2nd, and will hope to continue their winning ways as they head to New York for a 4 game series with the Yankees.