Detroit v. Minnesota

With the emergence of the Tigers in 2006 and the re-emergence of the Twins within the 2006 season, the AL Central remains one of the most hotly contested divisions in all of baseball. Three of baseball’s best teams reside within it including the World Champion Chicago White Sox. With two of the game’s best pitchers and a resurgent back half of the rotation, the Twins have pushed themselves into the heart of the wildcard race. The Tigers face the best of the best in Minnesota including a tilt against Francisco Liriano tonight. After Brad Radke pitches Saturday, the Tigers face baseball’s best pitcher in Johan Santana on Sunday afternoon. While I don’t know the exact scheduling rules that ESPN adheres to, I’m sure they could have somehow featured this game on Sunday Night Baseball as opposed to the Florida-Philadelphia battle for futility.

Offensively speaking, Joe Mauer takes most of the Minnesota press with his gaudy batting average and on-base percentage. Not enough is made of how Justin Morneau turned his season around to the point where he is delivering average and on-base in addition to his incredible power.

Morneau By Month:
Apr – .208/.274/.416 5 HR, 15 RBI
May – .274/.333/.505 5 HR, 21 RBI
Jun – .364/.400/.737 10 HR, 29 RBI
Jul – .393/.418/.702 7 HR, 19 RBI

Morneau is hitting .377 since June 1st with 17 home runs. Incredibly, Ron Gardenhire insists on batting him fifth when he should clearly be batting cleanup despite the lefty-lefty combo of he and Mauer. Twins guru Aaron Gleeman has felt the same way since mid-July.

As a team, the Twins are hitting over .300 in July (.317) and getting on base at a .368 clip. Nick Punto is in the midst of an 18-game hitting streak in which he is hitting .390 with a .452 on-base percentage. Jason Tyner has come out of nowhere to contribute 18 hits in 51 at-bats (.353) and even Rondell White has exploded with a 1.043 OPS in 11 July games. Imagine if the team were healthy. Currently, Torii Hunter, Lew Ford and Shannon Stewart are all on the disabled list forcing performances from the likes of Tyner and White.

I actually have to cut this a tad short because of work, but here are the pitching matchups for the huge series:

Fri, Jul 28 7:10 pm CDT—F.Liriano vs. Z.Miner
Sat, Jul 29 6:10 pm CDT—B. Radke vs. N. Robertson
Sun, Jul 30 1:10 pm CDT—J. Santana vs. J. Bonderman

Despite the tough pitching matchups, the Tigers will win this series as they gear up for what is sure to be an exciting August and September. I’ll be sure to try and check in during the weekend. GO TIGERS!!!!!!

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6 Responses to “Detroit v. Minnesota”

  1. the twins are the hottest team in baseball (won 34 of 42)–liriano will dominate the tigers tonight–zach miner who has been struggling has no chance; i could see radke getting lit up but johan has a sub 3 era against detroit in the last 2 years. plus–the twins are at home.Los Tigres will be lucky if they save one game

  2. @Jeff: “Zach Miner has no chance” but he has taken it 😆 Games are not won before they are played. So the Tigers have won one game and they are now “lucky”

  3. Well, you put yourself out there and got smoked. Series in hand, we aim for a sweep against baseball’s best.

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