Thursday, June 17, 2004

A Win is a Win is a Win...I Guess

Today's post, unlike most that I write, doesn't really have a central theme. I just want to comment briefly on a variety of Twins-related issues; throw some ideas/thoughts out there just to see what other people think.

First off the bat, we have the Twins 5-4 "win" over the beyond-lowly (I don't know what is below "lowly") Expos. As many of you probably already know, I put "win" in quotes because the Twins didn't actually "win" in the truest sense of the word. In your morning paper it will have the Twins down for another victory, but in reality, the Twins won because the umpires screwed up big time (I umpire quite often, so I realize that umpires are only human and prone to mistakes just like the rest of us). Luis Rivas' 11th inning homer was at least a couple feet foul, but I doubt anyone in Montreal will put up much of a fuss (outside Frank Robinson--more on that later). I'm glad the team did "win", but it definitely feels like a hollow victory. Seems like we're only kicking a poor dog who's almost dead anyway.

The stat line on starter Kyle Lohse (6 innings, 4 ER, 6 H) is a little misleading. I wasn't able to catch his first few innings, but he looked reasonably solid until the 6th inning, when he gave up the runs. Lohse's ERA is so bad right now (5.38), he's going to need a string of about three or four very good starts to lower it down to a respectable level. Unfortunately for Kyle, opponents don't come much easier than the Expos, so it's too bad he wasn't able to take advantage.

Was anybody else saddened by the spectacle put on by Montreal manager Frank Robinson during the 11th inning? Now I realize he was (understandably) upset by the HR call, but it makes you wonder how far the mighty have fallen, doesn't it? Here's a guy who was one of the best players of the modern era. He hit 586 home runs, is the only player to win the MVP in both leagues, and was a first-ballot Hall of Famer. And now he's making choking motions in front of 3,000 fans as the manager of one of the worst baseball teams ever assembled? And what about the Expos themselves? I admire their spirit, but what the way Major League Baseball has run this once-proud franchise into the ground is disgusting. They are just so bad. It truly is a sad state of affairs.

Statline of the Night:0-5, GIDP, 4 Ks, 5 LOB
As you probably already guessed, this line belongs to none other than our beloved Torii Hunter. He had about as bad a game as anyone can possibly have, striking out in four consecutive at-bats (he warmed up by grounding into a DP in his first AB), including a clutch strikeout with the bases loaded in the 8th inning. I know everyone has bad days, but today's "performance" really got me thinking about Torii. Despite reports to the contrary, Torii's plate discipline really hasn't changed at all. When he falls behind in the count, he still swings at just about everything, and I do mean EVERYTHING. Case in point: his 4th strikeout Wednesday was a fastball about two feet outside and in the dirt—I mean come on! I know we all hoped Torii would blossom into this amazing superstar after his great 2002 campaign, but let's face it: Torii will never be anything more than he is right now. He'll hit .250-.270, hit 25 homers, and drive in as many runs as his lineup allows (probably 80-95). The most valuable part of his game will always be his defense, as he has few (if any) peers out in center field. Now, even if Hunter never improves from these norms, he will still be a very solid player. He's just not the player that the Twins had in mind when they gave him a club-record 36 million dollar contract before last season.

I had a couple more things I wanted to talk about (most notably Dougie Baseball's recent performance and the Matt Guerrier's ML debut), but it is getting rather late and I have to work in the morning. Those thoughts and more will have to wait for another time. As always, thanks for visiting Twins Chatter. Feel free to e-mail me at if you so desire. Adios.

Expos reliever Jeremy Fikac sits alone on the Expos bench after the Twins take yet another game from hapless Montreal