Howard’s note: Frequent commenter Jeff in So. Cal sat through the pain of the Twins-Angels series last weekend and filed this report about watching the team that’s coming to the Metrodome this weekend, and what the Twins could learn from them. Also, La Velle and Joe (and sometimes myself) now have our Twitter thoughts landing on our Twitter page at startribune.com/twins. You can join in by adding #stribtwins to your tweets. Enjoy the weekend.
I have been attending just about every Twins game at Anaheim Stadium since I moved to Southern California back in 1978. I must say that it is impressive of the increased amount of Twins fans now showing up to support the Twins. I am guessing, but it sure looked like a quarter of the fans last Saturday were Twins fans. We just did not have much to cheer about the first three games. It was not always like that here, but I sure wish that the Twins had played a better brand of baseball to reward all of their fans who followed the team to Anaheim.
It became clear to me watching this series with the Angels that Mike Scoscia really has his team playing fundamental, aggressive baseball. In my opinion, he is hands-down the American League Manager of the Year, plus they were doing it with two of there best offensive players out with injuries! This team just has no quit in it and they keep battling until the last out. It reminded me of how the Twins used to play the game.
I hope that Bill Smith took notice of how the Angels play the game right now. What do you think the chances are of the Twins going 9-1 without Mauer and Morneau in the lineup? That is essentially what the Angels did without Vlad Guerrero and Torii Hunter. The Angels, like other perennial contending teams, surround there superstars with good complimentary players. When there is a glaring need, their management goes out and tries to get the player they think is going to help push them to the top.
The Twins are blessed right now with three guys in the middle of the lineup who are probably the best in baseball. Mauer, Morneau, and Kubel are having a year that is one for the ages. I cannot think of another team that has a better middle of the order right now.
Those three had a great weekend in Anaheim. The problem is that the rest of the team just wasn’t playing well (even though that changed during the White Sox sweep). For as good as those three guys are, our middle infield is just as weak. This team just cannot rely on those guys every night.
There is still room for a lot of optimism for this Twins team and the near future. This year’s version of the Twins is the youngest team in the American League. We also have the fifth-highest average attendance — trailing the Yankees, Red Sox, Angels, and just behind Detroit. They are also set to enter next season at Target Field, which should boost attendance.
The Central Division is still there to be had as it appears nobody is going to run away with it. The Twins just have to add some players who will compliment our great hitters, instead of dragging them down every game.
Please, Bill Smith you not only owe it to the fans you owe it to the great players you have already. It will finally send a message to all that you want to win — and win now!!