September 10, 2006
Notes From the Weekend
Bonser doesn't have the stuff to be an ace and he'll always be susceptible to ugly stretches thanks to being homer prone, but he's shown plenty of promise as a rookie. At the very least, Bonser can be penciled into the back of the rotation for the next few seasons at a reasonable price. And yes, getting three pitchers from the Giants for A.J. Pierzynski looks better just about every day.
It's somewhat difficult to trust Liriano fully after he essentially kept his prior arm problems a secret, but this is certainly great news. Barring a setback, he's reportedly scheduled to start Wednesday against Oakland, which means Liriano could start four more times this season. Almost as important is that he'll have plenty of time to build up his arm strength for the playoffs.
It's quite possible that Radke's career is over, but there are a few options that Twins fans can hope for. One is that Radke is able to make it back for one or two regular-season starts and can ready himself for one last postseason run. Short of that, it'd be nice if Radke can simply get himself prepared to be an option for the playoffs, even if means his regular season is over.
And if all else fails, it'd be nice to see Radke take the mound at the Metrodome one last time. If he can't contribute to the Twins' World Series hopes again, perhaps Radke could come in for the ninth inning against the White Sox in the 162nd game of the year, getting the last out of what will hopefully be a blowout win with a postseason spot already clinched.
Friend of AG.com and Rochester Democrat & Chronicle writer Jim Mandelaro had a guest article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune covering the Liriano-Perkins masterpiece.
Many Twins fans seem to have given up on Baker, but I remain confident that he'll develop into a solid fourth starter. Even with his struggles this year, Baker has a 5.30 ERA and 90-to-28 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 127.1 big-league innings, which is far from disastrous from a 24-year-old. With that said, what the Twins need most right now is simply five passable innings from their starters, and Guerrier likely gives them a better chance at that than Baker.
I think his initial suspension was unwarranted, but at least understand it. That he was suspended for an additional three games seems absurd. The punishment doesn't fit the crime, I don't think Blyleven is any less likely to make the same mistake in the future because of the extra time off, and Twins fans had to suffer through Ron Coomer in Blyleven's absence (although Jack Morris did a great job as a one-game sub).
Of course, I'm a well-known vulgarian, so what do I know?
I'm LEN3's biggest fan, which is really saying something given how tough I can occasionally be on the local media, but even I have to admit defeat when critics bring up his illogical stance on pitchers and the MVP.
As long as we can keep that man of principle, La Velle E. Neal III, away from the ballot box, Johan Santana has a shot to be the first starting pitcher to win a big-league Most Valuable Player Award since Oakland's Vida Blue in 1971.
Mr. Neal, our veteran baseball writer, was one of two voters (along with George King of the New York Post) not to place Pedro Martinez on the 10-player ballot in 1999. This greatly benefited Texas catcher Ivan Rodriguez in claiming the honor.
"The award is for guys who play every day, not pitchers," said Neal, in rejecting Pedro's rather solid season (23-4, 2.07 ERA, 313 strikeouts) as being worthy of MVP consideration.
On Sunday, as Santana was leaving to a roaring standing ovation after 6 1/3 scoreless innings in the Metrodome, a colleague asked Neal if seven years later he maintained that stance on pitchers and MVP awards seven years later.
"Yes, but I don't have the vote this year," he said. "I'm voting for Rookie of the Year."
UPDATE: Reusse's proclamation that "Santana has a shot to be the first starting pitcher to win a big-league Most Valuable Player Award since Oakland's Vida Blue in 1971" is false, as Roger Clemens was the AL MVP in 1986. His overall point remains, of course, but as usual us bloggers shouldn't trust what we read in the mainstream media (or something like that).
It doesn't get any easier with the first-place A's coming to town, but the Twins can realistically be considered co-favorites in the division at this stage given how the Tigers have played of late and are relatively large favorites to get into the postseason as either the division winner of Wild Card. Not only would that have been impossible to believe in June, it would have been hard to believe in August.
And now? It's time to believe.