Two series in the books

The Twins lost today 3-1 to the Royals and are 3-4 for the year. Some observations so far:

  • The pitching, esp starting pitching has been performing well. Bill Madden, of the New York Daily news wrote an interesting article suggesting that the number of 7-inning performances by a teams' starting staff is a good indicator of a team's potential to make the playoffs. So far the Twins have 4 games where the starters when 7 or more, compared to 2 such games after 7 total games last season. This improvement, albeit predicted here, is generally surprising.

  • Pitching has been the strength of this team, resulting in 6 out seven games this season being close (decided by 2 runs or less) vs only 2 close games in the first 7 games in 2007. This team scored 19 runs in the first 7 games of 2008 vs. 23 in those of 2007. The offense is lagging and some adjustments might need to be made.

  • Cuddyer, Kubel, Lamb, Monroe and Young have been "slow starters" if you compare their performances in April vs those at the rest of the season for the span of their careers. Young has been hitting adequately for average but not been driving in runs. Lamb played only sparingly in the month of April, because he is a slow starter. With the emergence of Tolbert, it might be worthwhile to give Harris several starts in the 3B (that is his natural position), while keeping Lamb on the bench.

  • The DH situation is a problem with the only visible solution to wait until Kubel or Monroe find their groove. The other observation is that the bench is flawed, because of the taxing with the 12-man pitching staff (that is probably unnecessary with the performance of the starters so far) and the presence of Nick Punto who with the emergence of Tolbert is reduced to a late inning defensive replacement that is probably a luxury in a team that has a power outage. The reduction of the pitching staff to 11 and moving Punto along with one of the current bullpen parts (Rincon?), might result in a much needed bat, as originally proposed.
    Alternatively, and even more importantly, what would it take to pry away a superstar in the making in his arbitration year from a team that cannot afford him, in a year where the Twins have excess in budget? What would it take to bring Hanley Ramirez from the Marlins? If Smith let the Marlins pick 5 or 6 people from the organization other than Gomez, Mauer, Morneau, Nathan, Slowey, Liriano, Baker, Blackburn, Crain, Hernandez, Guerrier and Reyes, I think that it might happen. In the worse case scenario, Kubel, Guerra, Casilla, Span, Revere and Swarzak will go to the Marlins. I think that its a price that the Twins should be willing to pay

  • On other notes: Santana hit a double today, but lost to the Braves. Soria will be special for the Royals. Cleveland came back to win in Oakland. I'd be following the late AL Central game

Today's Twins MVP: Morneau

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