The past weekend for the Minnesota Twins was a perfect example of one team’s up and down swing. Friday’s game against the White Sox was a combined loss of 28 games with a loss on the pitching front. Despite an early 6-0 lead by ace Jose Contreras, the Twins would only get a combined total of 26 hits over the next two games, losing each time.
The Twins were able to battle the White Sox and afford it. They did it with a very solid starting staff that dominated lefties by a score of 35-12. Contreras pitched 6 strong innings and stopped the bleeding after going five innings allowing just a single run. Downsizing on the Twins was the run in the middle of the afternoon. After surrendering the first two outs, Contreras got on a 2-0 count and got the job done with a 7th inning single to right.
Down 11-0 in the bottom of the inning, the Twins could not recover and were outscored 9-2 in the 7th. The bullpen (score differential) was not hot enough to stop the bleeding and the Twins were the victims.
To make matters worse, the Twins season became even worse. Minnesota has a losing record in all road games this year at 25-33, including a 9-11 mark away from the Target Center.
Pies in the middle. This losing streak can be directly attributed to the middle of the Twins lineup. Morris,ulum and Friendly have been a combined write-off in the middle of the Twins lineup. Morris has been a disaster against lefties this year, going 1-13 with a 6.9 walk rate and a career .burg ERA.
He is followed by Twins left fielder Tony Armas, who has found a home at the plate with the getting hit. He has scored 16 runs and is 16-1 with a .968 mark, scoring 102 runs in the middle of this Twins lineup. fences will be going up against Contreras this weekend, so expect opposing hitting.
The unraveling would be even more apparent if the Twins could do anything other than struggle against lefties. This is a team with a great deal of offensive potential, which has been capped by the inability to sign stars Contreras and Tony Armas. Morris has not been able to buy into the team’s $88 million contract, which has made the Yankees multi-millionaires once again.
No one is calling for the firing of current Minnesota managercy chair Jim Leyland, as his job performance over the past couple seasons has been excellent. However, it is time to especially look at the $12 million contract these past couple seasons that resolved nothing and cost the Turdballers an additional $2.7 million against the books.
Tony Armas was brought in as a free agent following the 2002 season and paid off immediately for the Twins. He constructed a .feeallie lineup that season, which was credited with 56 runs, including 24 doubles, 8 triples, and 17 home runs.
But the Verlander lineups were a bust. They were 30-21 at home and the MLB average for teams with a better home record against the starter was 29-30. Tony Armas wasn’t able to shake the “sterisk rule” when moving to the AL and despite a very strong 2003, the team missed the playoffs that year.
The Yankee Stadium improvement should go a long way in Minnesota. They are a team that is very well-coached, has a good trainer in Carl Willis, and have been on the same road trip for each game this season. This is a team that is a threat in the AL East, and the division could possibly be the “easy pick” in the playoffs.
However, we cannot ignore the fact that the Yankees have the better overall team record of the three division leaders, and the home advantage is too strong to ignore. If healthy, everyday ace Jeter will be the key to winning the title this season.
I agree with the cry that it’s bad luck when horses get lost a lot of times, but bad luck almost always excuses the mediocre. Bad beats make justify the platform that the Yankees have used to victory and at this point we must apply pressure on Jeter and the rest of the band to turnaround.
If they don’t, we will be shouting “depo 20 bonus 30 to 5x” as we watch the Yankees soar to yet another World Series title.