Leaving for Atlantic City and returning to NYC in the middle of a game in time to watch the Twins have one of their signature Dome rallies in the 8th inning was the perfect way to spend a weekend! We played at the Taj Mahal and The Tropicana this weekend and had a great time. My poker buddies and I didn't win as much as we should have due to some bad beats, but we didn't lose money, which is the key. Similar to the Twins' season thus far, no? They haven't really made the big runs they should have been capable of with the talent of guys like Mauer and Morneau, but here we are going into September and postseason is in the air alongside Minnesota State Fair cheese curds!
Going into this season, I was eyeing this upcoming White Sox series at the Dome, its convergence with the State Fair, and already planning coming back for my last hurrah at our stadium, and I simply prayed that at the very least these games would be meaningful. With the Twins and Sox separated in the standings by only 1 1/2 games and the Twins only 4 1/2 back from the Tigers (who are about to play the suddenly decent Cleveland Indians), we are in great shape. And we could be in even better shape soon!
If the Twins are serious about acquiring Harden, I'm all for it. Penny would be a decent boost to our struggling rotation, but Harden could be the golden ticket. Before being traded from his career in Oakland over to the Cubs last year, Harden has been plagued by an injury history that would make even Michael Cuddyer groan. He holds a career 3.36 ERA and 1.22 WHIP and average just over a strikeout per inning. Plus he's on my fantasy roster already and it would give me one more reason to cheer for him.
If the Twins can sign him to an extension (preferably incentive-laden), that also just might give Mauer the whiff of looming success that he's been hoping for before re-upping.
I must also say that I'm very happy after watching Jon Rauch pitch, and from what I hear, Mahay didn't do awfully himself. At the least, they have adequately replaced Humber and Gabino -- now we just need to see a fresh face in place of Keppel. And speaking of Keppel, I'm not quite ready to give ultimate confidence to Rauch and Mahay just yet, because hopefully we all remember how dominant Keppel looked in his first few starts until his career stats began to catch up with him. But I'm willing to applaud Rauch and Mahay for their performances, and I'll definitely be rooting for them to keep up that level of success and make the Twins look brilliant in their waiver wire maneuvering.
Things have already been written about the September Call-ups, and I don't mean to add anything that hasn't already been said. But I will say that it looks as if by all means the Twins front office hasn't given up on this season, and judging by Gardy's words and the Twins' place in the standing we're going to have to wait to see some of our long-anticipated prospects hoist a bat or toe the rubber in the majors.
Obviously Morales was going to come up, I don't think anyone didn't see that coming. But the real question was whether the front office would keep the party line and bring back Buscher, Tolbert, Swarzak and Dickey, or whether we'd see some of our better prospects (who might not be as refined yet), like Valencia, Tolleson, Plouffe, Hughes, Huber, Slama, and Delaney. At least Gardy stated that he wanted to see Valencia up but he's being told that "it's not the time". I just wonder who exactly is telling him that! Gardy is the manager!
I still wouldn't be surprised if someone like David Winfree or Brock Peterson makes a surprise cameo in September, as soon its going to be time to cut bait on them and we might as well add some extra bats to our bench for the stretch run and get a look at them up here. Although the real question is who would we remove to add them to our 40-man now that we know Tolbert and Buscher are coming up. Perhaps Dickey? The real surprising thing is that Tolleson and Hughes haven't been announced as coming up as they're already on the 40-man roster and could provide some valuable bench bats -- and Tolleson has versatility in the infield and outfield just as Tolbert does.
In another somewhat overlooked move, Yohan Pino was traded to the Indians to complete the Carl Pavano acquisition. This could actually come back to haunt us as he's been on fire lately, and despite falling out of the picture the last few years he once was a very promising prospect. Chances are he would have been taken in the Rule 5 draft this year anyway, as there are many prospects to add to our 40-man roster this offseason and not enough spots for all those deserving. I wish him luck, but it's going to be tough to like Pino if he comes back and makes us look foolish!
Ok, hopefully I have some good news tomorrow to write in regards to Harden (or Penny if Harden doesn't work out). But in the meantime, check some of the great blogs on the left for some more Twins news!