Monday, September 13, 2004

Winning With Pitching and Other Rambles

Twins Sweep the Tigers
Brad Radke continues to pitch like the most underrated pitcher in baseball. He may not be as dominant as Johan Santana but he definitely makes up a large part of the two headed monster. What makes Brad even more amazing is that after 10 years he may now be pitching his best season. In the past he has often been plagued by 1 poor inning a start and occasionally he would pitch a game where he was unable to locate his pitches and gave up a lot of runs. He has never been this consistent. He is hitting all his spots, keeping batters of balance and walking people even less then he used to. His ERA at 3.51 is even lower then it was the year he won 20 when it was 3.87. Brad’s biggest problem this year has been run support. With a little help he could easily have as many wins as Santana and then people would be mentioning him being right behind Johan in the CY race. Every time either of these two pitchers is on the mound the Twins expect to win and as a result they play better.

Speaking of that CY Young race, why is it so hard to admit that Johan Santana is currently the most dominate pitcher in baseball? He is on an unprecedented streak and yet members of the media keep trying to pass out his hardware to elsewhere. The latest Gammons article compares Santana to Schilling and tries to make it an argument. Schilling has more wins then Santana but his numbers do not compare in ERA, K’s or the amount of hits Johan has given up. Yes there are other pitchers out there having great seasons but Johan is a head above them all. Why must Santana pitch a 2 hit shutout every start from here on out just to prove himself? It is unbelievable he has not had a letdown in close to 3 months. Not 1 bad start!

Call a Doctor
Terry Tiffee came out of last night’s game after colliding with Ivan Rodriguez at the plate. He may have injured his shoulder on the play. This guy has really impressed in his brief time in the bigs. He plays hard and comes up with clutch hits. His fielding seems to be average but he is an improvement over Michael Cuddyer. If his shoulder is alright and Corey Koskie is unable to work his way back, Tiffee may be the starting third baseman in the playoffs. He has not played like a wide eyed rookie and it would be surprising if he didn’t play well given the opportunity. He also gives the Twins another option for next year should the Twins decided not to resign Koskie. If both players are still hurt come October the team will have a huge hole to fill especially if Cuddyer has to play second.

Last night saw the return of our boy Lew Ford, the official player of Twins Chatter. Lew looked like his old self driving in the first run of the game and later knocking one out of the park. As always, it is great to see Lew perform. The celebration in the dugout following the homerun was another story to add to the book of Lew. As he got back his teammates were either not paying attention or just giving him a hard time because they didn’t do anything. They then all had a good laugh and congratulated him following the initial delay.

Special congratulations to Ryan for going 12 and 3 and finishing at the top of Seth’s NFL experts picks. I for one, was a little surprised he did so well. Currently I have a commanding lead in our fantasy baseball league for the 3rd year out of 5. Ryan has never won it ever (NOTE BY RYAN): John is just a lucky SOB). Apparently he has more of a knack for football. It is all in good fun though and we hope his luck continues for the rest of the season.

I apologize for such a jumbling of ideas but it is getting toward the time of the year where everyone is just waiting for the playoffs. No one is threatening in the standings while it is still too early for playoff previews. Even the DTFC forum is a little light on topics right now.

Tonight the Twins begin their series against the White Sox. Tickets are supposedly half price for the game which makes it definitely worthwhile to go down and see Johan pitch. The Sox could put a scare into the Twins if they are able to sweep the series. It isn’t going to happen and Santana will erase all doubts in game 1. Who knows, we might just see a no hitter.

To Trade...or Not
A question was brought up last week in the comments section on whether it would be a good idea to trade Lew in the off-season given the right deal. Lew is definitely a fan favorite and with Jacque Jones on his way out there is a spot open for him in next year’s outfield. The Twins may have to fill holes at second, short, third, the bullpen and in their rotation in the off-season. I don’t expect that Lew will be traded or that the team would get enough value to do so especially since he has cooled off a bit later in the year. That said, the Twins have been very good at producing good outfielders in the past couple of years. The can field a decent infield next year with a combination of Punto, Bartlet, Cuddyer, Tiffee and Koskie. If that infield could be upgraded by trading away Ford for reasonably priced talent the Twins should do it. If they can get a good arm for him they should also make the deal. The Twins have been very good at making creative deals. They traded away A.J and Milton last year and got more back in return. There is no reason to close the door and not attempt to do the same this year.


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