June 5, 2005

The Team That Won't Die

Like the menacing villain in seemingly every horror movie ever produced -- from Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees to Michael Myers and the Fisherman in the Raincoat from I Know What You Did Last Summer -- the Twins just keep coming. You can shoot them, hack off a few of their limbs, light them on fire and watch them burn, flatten them with a bookcase, or any of the other horror movie cliches.

They keep coming.

They don't hurry things, because that's just not how these things work. Freddy doesn't kill everyone in the first 10 minutes, he slowly stalks them for two hours. When the damsel in distress sees her boyfriend decapitated and screams in horror as she runs into the woods, Jason doesn't run after her. No, he collects his thoughts and his machete, and takes a nice, leisurely stroll in her general direction.

If the 2005 baseball season were a horror movie -- and really, Project Greenlight has had worse ideas -- this would be the point where the scared-out-of-her-shirt girl went scampering into the woods or screaming up the stairs to hide. And to their credit, the White Sox found a damn good hiding spot with a 24-7 start. But the Twins know they have plenty of time, because the credits don't start rolling for another 100 games.

So with wounds all over them and limbs falling off left and right, they just keep coming. Nick Punto goes to the disabled list right when he's starting to find his groove at second base. Keep coming. Justin Morneau goes down with an elbow injury after missing most of the first month from a beaning. Keep coming. Joe Mauer's groin starts acting up when everyone was focused on his so-far-so-good knee. Keep coming.

Players drop like flies, but no-name reinforcements keep coming up from the minors to do the job. Brent Abernathy, Luis Rodriguez, Terry Tiffee, and Michael Ryan, who until very recently were four-ninths of Triple-A Rochester's lineup, combined to start seven times this weekend. Together they went 9-for-26 (.346) with five RBIs and four runs scored.

You can't kill the Twins because -- and forgive me if I mix film genres here -- like Bebe's Kids, they don't die, they multiply. Without their two best hitters and their starting second baseman, and without their two best starting pitchers on the mound, the Twins took two out of three from the New York Yankees.

And now we have this:

AL CENTRAL      W      L     WIN%       GB
White Sox 37 19 .661 ---
Twins 33 22 .600 3.5
Tigers 26 28 .481 10.0
Indians 26 29 .473 10.5
Royals 17 39 .304 20.0

Today at The Hardball Times:
- The Arm Pitch Counts Forgot (by Aaron Gleeman)

Today's Picks (44-40, +$245):
Baltimore (Ponson) -115 over Pittsburgh (Fogg)
Chicago (Garcia) -135 over Colorado (Kennedy)

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