It is Friday again, and thanks to Rebecca Black, we can’t even enjoy that the same way we used to. But the good news is that Minnesota Twins have turned that 9-game losing streak into a distant memory as they split a series against King Felix and his Mariners before sweeping the A’s out of Oakland. The Twins are playing baseball like a lot of Twins fans expected heading into 2011. The pitching has been solid and the bats are coming alive. The Twins are still meddling a little bit fielding (Trevor Plouffe) but they’re making great strides.
Around the internet various Twins and Baseball writers have been publishing some pretty interesting thoughts and ideas and I’d like to share them with you.
We will start with Joe Posnanski’s tribute to Harmon Killebrew. The Minnesota Twins lost one of their greatest this week and I thought that Posnanski did a great job celebrating the beginning of Harmon Killebrew and reminding baseball fans how great a man he truly was. As a Twins fan who didn’t have the opportunity to see Harmon Killebrew play the game of baseball (He was inducted into the Hall of Fame the same year I was born), Posnanski did a great job of painting a picture of a great baseball player and a great man.
While the Twins were in the midst of their nine game losing streak Beyond the Boxscore put up their Week 7 power rankings. Daniel Moroz, didn’t rank the Twins kindly and had this to say about our home town 9, “The pitching staff is below replacement level. The position players are barely above replacement level. Tough season in Minnesota.”
Over at FanGraphs, their weekly rankings had the Twins slightly higher, and they even mixed in the running joke about Mauer’s bilateral leg weakness. This ranking system is not based only off of on field performance, but also fan support and excitement, so despite being the worst team in baseball when this post was published, the Twins are not even the lowest rated team in the AL Central.
I really enjoyed this article from Jack Moore of FanGraphs. This article is a little bit about how the Cubs continue to find ways to foul up a perfectly good baseball season, and a little bit about the rules of baseball, specifically a base runners’ intentions and actions on a dropped 3rd strike. This, more than anything else I read this week, was a friendly reminder that every little play matters, even in a 162 game season.
I have still been enjoying the game chats over at Knuckleballs, and this week we spent a considerable amount of time talking about the facial hair of the Minnesota Twins, and to a further extent, the preferred facial hair for all men. The next day NotGraphs put up this picture of Cy Young sporting a very unflattering mustache, life is funny that way.
Here is an interesting story from Paul Lukas over at Uni-Watch that talks a little bit about the myth of Harmon Killebrew as the inspiration for the MLB logo, and why Lukas felt the need to debunk the tale as it was growing into a legend in the wake of Harmon Killebrew’s death. If you haven’t checked out Uni-Watch before this and you think you might enjoy reading about uniform tweaks and interesting stories about how uniforms are chosen give Uni-Watch a couple of weeks, Paul Lukas continually puts out quality uniform related content with plenty of pictures to boot!
It has certainly not been every day where the Twins are being praised for their pitching in 2011, so I thought I’d direct your attention to this little blurb over at Baseball-Reference. Not only is Andy giving praise to Nick Blackburn for turning in solid performances in 2011 despite being sent to AAA in 2010, but he’s also giving some love to fellow AL Centraler Justin Masterson.
The Kansas City Royals had an interesting 9th inning earlier this week and Dayn Perry breaks it down over at NotGraphs. In this case, two pinch runners were picked off in a single inning. Luckily for the Twins their bench is so thin that Ron Gardenhire won’t be making these kinds of moves any time soon.
Over at the Sweet Spot David Schoenfield ranks the top draft choice at each of the first 30 selections. The Twins make the list only once, which for a team that lives and dies with its quality drafts and farm system, I found a little surprising.
Finally, I will leave you with Jim Leyland’s thoughts on interleague play and the designated hitter. An interesting take on the unbalanced schedules of interleague play and an organization’s efforts to build their team around a designated hitter. With the Twins on their way to Arizona to face the Diamondbacks I won’t be complaining too much about interleague paly any time soon.