Friday

6-12-09: DFTU

Hello again everybody...

It's the end of another week, and I can officially say I'm fried. I won't bore you with the petty troubles of my job. I will point out for those of you that think, “hey, working in radio must be a sweet gig”, yes, it has moments where I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world. But it's a job. And like any other job, there are politics, drama and annoying bosses which test one's patience and sanity. Suffice it to say that this week, those things have caught up with me, and I'm longing for a vacation.

But I'll have to settle for 48 hours of not wanting to liberally use a taser. I think I can be satisfied with that.

So no more negativity. It's Friday after all. And, as regular readers know by now, that means it's DFTU time! We're staring down the barrel of some serious inter-league play. How are the Twins and Diamondbacks set heading into it? I'll discuss.

Let's do this!

"Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something."
- Plato (427 BC - 347 BC), Classical Greek philosopher, mathematician, writer of philosophical dialogues, and founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world.


I'll leave it to you to decide which end of that equation I fall on. And knowing my friends, it's a very good thing that I have no trouble with some self-deprecating humor!

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You've waited for it all week. I know there's somebody out there that's smiling in anticipation right now. Here it is. You're weekly dose. It's time for...

Dan's Favorite Teams Update!

Minnesota Twins: The Twins are 30-32, in second place in the AL Central and four games behind the Detroit Tigers.

I've long said that one of the joys of baseball is that a 162-game season not only makes it a 6-month companion, but also means that you don't have to live and die with each game.

Sure it's exciting that each succeeding football game gets more important and pressure-packed. But on the other hand, it's also nice that during the baseball season, “there's always another game tomorrow”.

That being said, it's still amazing how 1/162nd of a team's season can have such an impact.

If you haven't figured it out yet, I'm talking about the stomach-punch game the Twins endured yesterday.

Nick Blackburn pitched 7 innings of 3-hit, shut-out baseball. And over those 7 innings, he was staked to a 3-run lead. Then came the 8th inning. The game wasn't on TV, so I can't tell you exactly what went wrong. What I know is that approximately 7.3 nanoseconds after I'd posted, “Blackburn is dealing” on a Facebook thread, I looked down and it was 3-3. (Insert Lon's “Dan put the whammy on him” comment here.) I take full responsibility for the sudden turnaround. I know better than to mess with the baseball gods, and that line I posted on Facebook pokes them with a short stick every time.

And if that wasn't bad enough, the bullpen reverted to mid-May form and allowed the A's to win the game in the bottom of the ninth.

Okay, so that's just one game. What's the big deal, right? The big deal is that this was the road trip where the Twins had a chance to finally break their “we suck on the road” pattern. They'd started losing a series in Seattle, but had won two of the first three in Oakland and had a chance to go 3-1 in that series headed to face the Cubs over the weekend. But instead of that result, they ended up splitting the series, making them 3-4 on the trip so far, and in need of a sweep at Wrigley to have a winning trip.

They say that perception is everything. Imagine the difference in perception if they were 4-3 headed to Chicago, having won three in a row on the road. Instead, I'm praying the Twins can get two of three against the Cubs and manage to go 5-5 on the trip. That's possible, right? Right?!

One last Twins note before I touch on their upcoming schedule. Nick Punto just came off the disabled list (somewhere my brother is twitching and doesn't know why), forcing the Twins to make a roster move. That move turned out to be sending 2B Alexi Casilla back to AAA Rochester.

That'll get a lot of flak from Punto-haters out there. But people have to be reasonable. No, Nick isn't a Hall of Fame hitter. And he's never going to be. But when you're a mid-market team, you're not going to be able to afford .280+ hitters 1-9. It's just not realistic. But if your 9-hitter plays above-average defense, you live with his less than stellar average and understand that at least 18 other teams wish they had your problem.

Punto-haters will at least have a bone thrown their way, as it seems the hot-hitting Brendan Harris will see increased time at shortstop, while Punto slides over to play more second base. Defense is just as vital as hitting, people. Try to remember that.

As mentioned, the Twins are in Chicago today to kick off their June inter-league stretch against the Cubs. It's a day game in fact, so we're 0-0 in the bottom of the first as I type this. After this series, the Twins return home for 6 games against the Pirates and Astros. Time to make hay anyone?

Arizona Diamondbacks: The D'backs are 26-35 and dead freaking last in the NL West, 14 games behind the L.A. Dodgers.

I feel sorry for my Phoenix readers. This team's just downright hard to watch. It's gotten to the point now where even when Dan Haren's going to pitch, and you know you're going to get a solid starting performance, the only question is how the rest of the club is going to screw it up. That's a horrible way to go through a baseball season.

Arizona's 4-6 over their last ten games, so it's not like they've swooned their way into last-place. Rather, Colorado's on an 8-game winning streak that's moved them ahead of the Snakes.

I keep waiting for some sign that the team is starting to turn things around. One week, Justin Upton gets hot, and I think, "here it comes". Then, not so much. Currently, Stephen Drew has the hot hand. But it doesn't seem to be spreading to the rest of the club.

I don't know, Arizona fans. I really don't know what to tell you. I hate to say this season is lost, especially when there is a fair amount of talent on this team. Can anyone objectively say that Colorado has more talent than Arizona? I can't.

If they hadn't already pulled the trigger on a managerial change, I'd be saying that it might be time for that switch. But that's already been done. And the tricky part about firing the skipper as early as they did, is that they're stuck in a situation now where it hasn't changed anything, and now what do they do?

Sadly, I don't have an answer to that question. And apparently, neither does the Diamondback front office. It's frustrating for Arizona fans. This was supposed to be another competitive year. And when Manny got suspended for his "but I don't do steroids" PED-test, that should've thrown the door wide open.

But instead, Diamondback fans have this dreck to deal with. I wish I could be more positive for my Phoenix readers. But for today? I've got nothing for you.

Arizona's one of the two NL teams that isn't playing inter-league this weekend, as they host Houston for a 3-game set. Instead, they kick off their inter-league journey on Tuesday as they head to Kansas City for three, followed by a trip to Seattle for three more.

That's all for today folks. Wish I could end on a happier note, but it's "just get me to the weekend" mode today! Wait, I can end on a happier note! The Twins lead the Cubs 2-0 after three innings! (No whammy, no whammy, throwing salt over my shoulder, knocking on wood, no whammy...)

Check back on Monday for more Sports Take goodness. Until then, thanks for reading!

2 comments:

  1. You are whammy-free today, but you really need to be more careful.
    Love the blog!
    Cathy

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ok, seriously, there's going to be a whole "Dan did not just Whammy with that statement" routine now. I don't know how long it will take to execute, but somehow he managed to save the Penguins over the weekend, too. :-)

    ReplyDelete