September 8, 2005
I had an odd experience Monday. My mom had the day off from work for Labor Day and took the opportunity to sleep in. Meanwhile, I was up at 6:45, before the alarm even went off, and working by 7:05. It was like we had entered into some sort of bizarro world, where what I had experienced for the first 22 years of my life was flipped 180 degrees.
Suddenly I was up bright and early, working. And suddenly my mom, who has gotten up at six in the morning every weekday for as long as I can remember, was nestled comfortably under the covers. Even my trusty Boston Terrier, Samantha, abandoned me for a cozy spot in my mom's bed, leaving me alone with my laptop and daily NFL news beat for Rotoworld.
In other news, school started Tuesday and for the first time I couldn't care less.
Onto the Twins notes ...
Lost in the bomb he served up to Matthews is the fact that Liriano was throwing extremely hard, flashed a nasty breaking ball that appears to have several thousand strikeouts in its future, and recovered from a rocky beginning to set down three straight hitters. With Johan Santana locked up through 2008, Carlos Silva still arbitration-eligible, and Scott Baker now firmly entrenched as a starter, the future of the Twins' rotation is looking pretty nice.
It's a shame the pitching staff can't perform in a vacuum, because they deserve a lot better than what they're getting this season and aren't receiving nearly enough credit for the amazing job they've done. If the pitching staff's frustration over the lack of offense ever starts hurting their pitching, then the hitters have really screwed things up royally. Perhaps that's what Kyle Lohse and Radke came blame their brief and horrendous outings this week on.
It is hard to get a loss like this. The only thing I know, man, is that every time I go out there, I give 100 percent because I like to win and I hate to lose. It looks like a lot of guys in here don't want to play the game the right way. ... If you throw nine innings with one run and lose 1-0, you lost. That's nice to say, 'I pitched nine innings and only gave up one run,' but what happens the other times? If someone thinks that way, and I know a lot of guys think that way -- just worried about pitching and worry about yourself -- it is not going to work.
Remember when I said LeCroy was miscast as an everyday player? Well, he was on a hot streak at the time and I got quite a few e-mails from people telling me I was wrong. Turns out, I wasn't. LeCroy hit .244/.327/.433 while playing regularly last month and has batted .220/.299/.327 against right-handed pitching on the year. He's a lefty-masher, that's all.
I don't care what you think about Crain or DIPS or the importance of strikeout rates, he simply can't continue to pitch this well with what is now an even 38-to-38 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 96.2 major-league innings. Sadly, I doubt anyone within the organization will preemptively address the problem, since Crain has a 2.36 ERA on the year, including 2.25 since the All-Star break, and is 10-4 with a .213 opponent's batting average.
Think of it this way: The Twins need to finish the year by going 17-6 just to reach 90 wins. Not only is that unlikely, considering it would be a .739 winning percentage for a team that has won at a .525 clip thus far, it still wouldn't even come close to guaranteeing them a playoff spot. In fact, the Yankees would have to play barely over .500, going 13-11 to the finish the year, and they'd end up with 91 wins. To get to 91 victories the Indians have to go 13-10 and the A's would have to go 14-9.
It's not that the Twins can't finish incredibly strong and a team like the Yankees can't slump down the stretch, it's that the Twins must finish incredibly strong and all three teams in front of them must play .500 or worse ball for the last three weeks of the season. The odds of that happening are slim and none, and slim probably left town with the Rangers.