Hello again everybody...
We've done it! We've made it to the end of another week.
Okay, my week technically ended yesterday, but I'm not one to rub these things in. So congratulations, one and all.
There's a big weekend of baseball and college football ahead. The Twins are still fighting for a playoff spot, while my college football picks are fighting to stay above .500.
If you missed my picks for this week, check out yesterday's column. Because today's column is all about the DFTU-ing baby!
No dilly. No dally. Let's do this!
”I don't mind what Congress does, as long as they don't do it in the streets and frighten the horses.”
Victor Hugo (1802-1885), French poet, playwright, novelist, essayist, visual artist, statesman and human rights activist.
I know the guy lived to be 83 years old, but damn that's a lot to fit into one lifetime! And while there aren't really horses traveling down the roads around the Capitol to scare anymore, I think the sentiment remains true and understandable!
And in the spirit of remaining true and understandable, it's Friday, and you all know what that means!
That's right. It's time... once again... for everybody's favorite segment:
Dan's Favorite Teams Update
Minnesota Twins: The Twins are 79-73, in second place in the AL Central and 3 games behind the Detroit Tigers.
FINALLY, the switch has flipped and the Twins have gone on a hot-streak. Winners of 9 of their last 10, the Twins have whittled steadily away at the Tigers lead.
The Tigers aren't exactly rolling over and playing dead, but their 6-4 record over the last 10 has brought Minnesota close enough that the 4-game series in Motown next week should be meaningful.
I say “should be” because there's still the small matter of the Kansas City Royals to deal with.
What's that you say? The Royals are 63-89 and should roll over and play dead for contending teams? Oh, if only that were the case, my dear reader.
You see, the Royals are a big part of why Minnesota has been able to cut into that Tiger lead. Detroit is 9-9 against KC this year, but more importantly they're 1-5 against the Royals in their last six meetings.
The Twins are 7-5 against the Royals, but haven't played them since August 23rd. Since that time KC is 16-13, including going 7-3 in their last 10.
And if that doesn't give Twins fans pause, consider the fact that after avoiding having to face him all year, the Twins have to try and solve Cy Young contender Zack Greinke twice in the last 10 games.
That's the downside.
The upside is, the boys could've easily rolled over and gone through the motions after Justin Morneau was ruled out for the rest of the year with his back injury, but they didn't.
Instead, Michael Cuddyer has stepped up in a big way to help replace Morneau's production. And Nick Punto, yes that Nick Punto has been hot of late, including a key 2-RBI single in Wednesday night's win.
So regardless of what any uncle of mine may be posting on my Facebook page (sorry Tim, but you're way off on this one), the Twins are most certainly still alive and kicking in this race.
We're not giving up people! Stay with me!
The Twins start a weekend series with the Royals in Kansas City this weekend before heading to Detroit for the big-time showdown with the Tigers on Monday. If you want to see what a Cy Young Award winner looks like, check out Greinke on Saturday.
Arizona Diamondbacks: The D'backs are 66-87, in last place in the NL West and have been eliminated from playoff consideration.
I'm still searching for positives to bring you, Arizona fans. Really, I am.
One of those things has to be 3B Mark Reynolds. He's having a break-out year hitting .266 with 43 home runs, 100 RBI, and 24 stolen bases. It marks the first time in his career that he's surpassed the 40 home run/100 RBI mark.
Unfortunately, the same night that he batted in his 100th run, he also surpassed the record for strikeouts in a single season with 206. Equally as unfortunate was the fact that in his post-game interviews, reporters asked about the strikeouts before the RBI.
Reynolds' response? “So what?”
That's it. He didn't care. And I'm not sure we should either. I'm not saying 206 strikeouts are a good thing. But when you drive in 100 runs while knocking 43 out of the park, I'm not sure you're really hurting your team all that much either.
Look, if we're going to point to what went wrong in the desert this season, one of the last things we should be pointing at is Reynolds' strikeout mark. Brandon Webb's injury, the lack of consistent defense, Chris Young falling off the map, and managerial instability are all things that should be looked at before we start going after Mark.
So, you're right Mark. So what?
The Snakes finish their home slate this weekend with three against the Padres. After that they hit the road for the last six of the season; three at San Francisco and then three in Chicago.
Wisconsin Badgers: The Badgers are 3-0 overall and 0-0 in the Big Ten.
The Big Ten campaign begins for Bucky at 11am central time this Saturday as the Badgers host the Michigan State Spartans at Camp Randall Stadium.
I haven't the foggiest idea what to make of this game.
The Spartans are coming off of two straight tough losses. Two weeks ago, they lost to Central Michigan. Then last week Notre Dame did the deed. Two losses like that should kill a team's confidence. They should get players pointing fingers at each other. And they should have fans creating: www.fireMarkDantonio.com.
But that doesn't seem to be the case. Michigan State seems to be fairly composed. And their quarterback Kirk Cousins has thrown 5 touchdowns with only 1 interception. When your offensive leader isn't panicking, the rest of the team tends to keep their emotions in check.
So I count on nothing in that regard.
Wisconsin, on the other hand, has yet to taste the bitterness of defeat yet this season. But last week was the worst 44-14 win I've ever seen.
I know it was Wofford. And I know that there's a bit of “playing down to your competition” when it comes to playing FCS schools. But the Badgers fumbled the ball 4 times. That shouldn't ever happen to a team that relies so heavily on the run, much less against a FCS opponent.
So the Badgers aren't exactly coming into this game firing on all cylinders.
What's going to happen Saturday? Your guess is as good as mine.
The odds-makers have Wisconsin as a three-point favorite. Those of you experienced in the ways of recreational gaming know that home-field advantage usually equates to three points. So even Vegas thinks these two teams are evenly matched.
I'm crossing my fingers and hoping that Wisconsin cleans up the offensive mistakes from last week. If they can do that, and take an early lead on Sparty, they should have a pretty good shot and killing any hope on MSU's sidelines and earning the W.
The game is listed as “ESPN/ESPN2” on my favorite college football lines website, so check your local listings for availability in your area.
And “On Wisconsin”!
There you are ladies and gents. Hopefully you all feel sufficiently updated!
I'll be back on Monday with more Sports Take goodness for you.
Until then, have a fantastic weekend, and thanks for reading!