September 7, 2003
Welcome to AaronGleeman.com!
Well, if you are reading this, I guess that means you found your way from the old website (www.baseballblog.blogspot.com) to the new and improved home of Aaron's Baseball Blog...
If nothing is different, why exactly did I switch websites? Good question, I'm glad you asked!
For one thing, AaronGleeman.com is a whole lot easier to remember than www.baseballblog.blogspot.com. That may not seem like such a big deal, but a lot of the visitors to this blog definitely come here by way of word-of-mouth and the easier the address is to remember, the better. Plus, I've got to admit, it is sort of cool (albeit slightly nerdy) to say I have my own dot-com.
Along with that, moving from a website hosted on Blogspot to a website hosted on a private server means a lot of the problems that have happened with the blog, particularly periods where the website is "down," will not be happening any longer. It seemed like about once a week there would be a point where the blog simply couldn't be accessed, because the Blogspot servers were experiencing trouble. Obviously that is a risk with any server and any website, but I'm hoping it is less of an issue with this new setup.
As of right now, those are the two main advantages to this move, but moving to my own website also gives me a lot of flexibility in the future, if I happen to come up with any brilliant ideas for things to add. Which reminds me, if you have any suggestions for new things I could add to this site, I would love to hear them. I am always interested in tinkering with things to make coming to this blog more fun and interesting, and I am sure you guys have a lot better ideas (and a lot more ideas) than I do.
If you have this blog "bookmarked" (or "favorite placed" or whatever your brower calls it), you will probably want to change the address to www.AaronGleeman.com. Also, if you are the owner of a website that has a link to this blog, I would really appreciate it if you would make the switch so that the link points here, instead of the old address.
Other than that, it is business as usual. Just sit back, relax, and enjoy my thoughts on baseball...
I thought about what I wanted to discuss in today's entry and I decided there was no way I could christen AaronGleeman.com with anything other than a Twins-related entry.
It's been an up and down season for the Twins and at various points in the year I was ready to completely write them off. To their credit, they have turned things around at just the right time and are now heading into the stretch-run in a very good position to win the American League Central.
Here is what the standings in the AL Central look like in this morning's paper:
W L Win% GB
Minnesota 76 66 .535 --
Chicago 76 66 .535 --
I put the Twins on top because...well, it's my website and I'll do what I want. And I left the Royals (73-69 and 3 games back) out of the picture because I think that is exactly where they are right now - out of the picture.
The Twins and White Sox have the two best records in the American League since the All-Star break, so the division probably isn't quite as weak as it first appears. The Twins are 32-17 in the second-half and the White Sox are 31-17. Minnesota has won 5 in a row and 13 of their last 18. Chicago has won 3 in a row and 13 of their last 18.
And now, the two teams will meet, starting tonight, for a 4-game series in Chicago. Pretty exciting, huh?
You may remember my entry from August 22nd ("And down the stretch they come!"), where I broke down the remaining schedules for the AL Central contenders. In case you forgot, the Twins finish with an incredibly easy stretch of games over the season's final two weeks, while the White Sox schedule is much more difficult. Because of that, I suggested that if the Twins could hang around within striking-distance through mid-September, they would be able to overtake Chicago in the final 10 games and win the division. Well, not only have the Twins been able to "hang around," they are tied with the White Sox, with 20 games left to play.
The two teams will meet 7 times over the next 11 days and I think the key to Minnesota's season and their division title hopes is that they are able to lose no more than 4 of those 7 games. Obviously winning the majority of the 7 games is ideal, but even winning just 3 of the 7 puts Minnesota is a very good position heading into the final two weeks of the season.
Minnesota finishes the season with 7 games against Detroit (37-105) and 2 games against Cleveland (62-82), while the White Sox end the year with 7 games against Kansas City (73-69) and 4 against the New York Yankees (85-56). If the Twins can manage to take at least 3 of these 7 upcoming meetings with the White Sox, they should be able to pick up enough games to sneak by Chicago for good at some point.
Of course, anything can happen in 20 games and a large part of the Twins' season is counting on the Royals playing like they have for much of the year (so they can knock off Chicago), which isn't exactly something I am willing to bet on.
In looking at the White Sox and Twins, it is interesting how their reputations and their actual performances this season are completely different. The Twins are known as a team that relies on "pitching and defense," while the White Sox are the sluggers, bashing their opponents into submission. Yet, the Twins have actually outscored Chicago 700-688 this season and the White Sox have allowed 57 fewer runs than the Twins (683-625).
As much as this pains me to admit this, I truly believe the Chicago White Sox are a better team than the Twins. If these two teams were playing like they are right now and there were 60 games left in the season, I would pick the White Sox to win this division in a heartbeat. But there are only 20 games left and the remaining schedules play a huge factor, even off-setting one team being better than the other - at least in my mind.
Here's the scary thing about Chicago, and the reason why I am glad we are nearing the end of the year:
AVG OBP SLG RS/G
Pre All-Star .245 .319 .408 4.18
Post All-Star .296 .359 .524 6.00
Actually, it looks like maybe their reputation for being such a slugging team is well-deserved after all. The White Sox rank 1st in the AL in batting average, slugging percentage and runs scored in the second-half, which is the reason for their dramatic turnaround. In fact, there pitching-staff has actually been slightly worse after the All-Star break, with a 4.33 ERA, compared to 4.08 before the break.
Minnesota's second-half success has been fairly split between hitting and pitching improvements. The Twins have scored about 16% more runs per game in the second-half, while allowing 15% fewer runs.
The way the White Sox are hitting right now, I'm not so sure the Twins can beat them head-to-head, but I'm hoping the Royals and Yankees can give us a hand. Let the games begin!
Link of the Day:
ChiSox Daily - "Notes about the White Sox and Chicago Sports"
Chicago (Colon) -150 over Minnesota (Lohse)
Toronto (Escobar) +175 over New York (Mussina)
Total to date: + 2,925
W/L record: 228-224 (3-1 on Friday for +260 and I can smell 3,000.)
*****Comments? Questions? Email me!*****