September 22, 2004

Revenge of the White Sox

For the second straight night, Chicago defeated a Minnesota team that didn't have many regulars in the lineup. That's no excuse, of course, but if you'd have told me a few months ago that the White Sox would take two out of three from the Twins in the middle of September and I wouldn't care one bit, suffice it to say I wouldn't have believed you.

Whatever chance there was that Carlos Silva will not be starting Game 3 of the American League Division Series for the Twins probably went away this series, as Kyle Lohse and Terry Mulholland both struggled against Chicago after Silva pitched well against them.

I'm no more comfortable with Silva starting a big game than I am Mulholland or Lohse, but I do think Silva is the right choice. He's been the best pitcher of the three all season and he's been especially good of late. I'm just hoping he'll be on a very short leash.

While Mulholland's start wasn't very encouraging and it's never fun to lose to the White Sox, it was good to see another good game by Minnesota's hitters (six runs on nine hits), particularly some of the young guys who have been getting playing time lately.

I'm really enjoying the beginning of the Jason Kubel Era, as Kubel homered for the second straight night and is now hitting .375/.444/.667 in 13 games in the major leagues. I was excited about Kubel's future with the Twins while he was putting up huge numbers in the minors this year, and after watching him for a few weeks, I'm even more pumped about what's ahead for him.

I'm not sure when this became official (perhaps last night?), but the Twins have now said that Kubel will definitely be on the postseason roster. That's good news, as I could see him making a big impact, assuming he's given a chance.

I wonder who the last 23-and-under trio of left-handed hitters who compare to Justin Morneau (23), Joe Mauer (21) and Kubel (22) were. I'm sure someone out there with a better knowledge of baseball history can chime in with some names, but I'm pretty happy with the group the Twins have got on their hands.

While the Twins lost last night, they didn't lose any ground to the A's for homefield advantage in the first round, as Oakland lost to Texas. The Twins are still a half-game up and Oakland probably has more important things to worry about, like the Angels being just two games behind them.

For those of you interested in such things, here's the Twins' remaining schedule:

4 at Cleveland


3 at New York

3 vs Cleveland

And here's what the A's have remaining:

1 at Texas

3 at Anaheim

4 vs Seattle

3 at Anaheim

I'm thinking the A's really need to destroy the Mariners in their four remaining meetings, because the rest of their schedule is not only brutal, but perfect for the Angels. A two-game lead suddenly doesn't seem like much at all when you're playing a team six times in two weeks.

Of course, perhaps the Twins don't even want that homefield advantage and everything that comes with it, namely Pedro Martinez and Curt Schilling. I'll take a closer look at that tomorrow (I promise this time).

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