Michael Rand started RandBall with hopes that he could keep lies from conquering the minds of the weak. So far, he's only succeeded in using the word "redacted" a lot. He welcomes suggestions, news tips, links of pure genius, and pictures of pets in Halloween costumes here, though he already knows he will regret that last part.
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From ESPN.com's Buster Olney:
The New York Mets won't know for sure about the status of star pitcher Johan Santana until sometime after he undergoes tests on Tuesday afternoon, but the expectation within the organization, sources say, is that Santana's injury is not so serious that he will require reconstructive elbow surgery.
Rather, the hope is that Santana, who has been pitching with elbow discomfort the entire season, be diagnosed with some sort of lesser problem, such as bone chips. If the injury is not serious, Santana could have corrective surgery now and presumably be ready for the start of spring training in 2010, barring any setbacks or complications. Santana, 30, is 13-9 with a 3.13 ERA, but his elbow discomfort has worsened as this season has progressed. He was scratched Monday from his next scheduled start, which was to come Tuesday at Florida.
Hoping about elbows doesn't always go very well. If we had to guess, there will be setbacks and the ex-Twins ace won't pitch again until 2011. If that's the case -- or even if it isn't -- does the trade before the 2008 season look any better? Keep in mind, Olney later talks in his piece about red flags re: Santana's elbow following the 2007 season and that the Twins privately feared he might be damaged goods.
if you weren't running all over town last night trying to find a Favre jersey, perhaps you watched Joe Mauer continue an amazing stretch of play with three more hits and two more home runs -- in this case, enough to lift the Twins to a victory.
Mauer has been blistering-hot lately: a 15-game hitting streak during which he is 33 for 63 (.524) with seven home runs and 19 RBI. And, sadly, the Twins are 5-10 during that stretch, mostly because their pitchers have undergone some sort of medical procedure that gives them a bad case of "Scott Arm." (Klingenbeck for the righties, Aldred for the lefties).
The Twins are 57-62 this season. They were 11-11 without Mauer in the month of April and 46-51 since. In those 97 games since Mauer has been on the active roster, he has 25 home runs and 77 RBI in 363 at bats.
1) Is it possible for Mauer to make a run at .400? Well, there are 43 games left on the schedule. Let's say he continues to average the same number of at bats per Twins game that he's been active for during the rest of the year (3.74). That would mean another 161 at bats, which would put him at 524 for the season. The lowest number of hits needed to bat .400 in that many at bats is 210. Mauer currently has 139 hits, so he would need 71 more in his final 161 at bats to hit .400 if all paces stay the same. That's a .441 clip for the final quarter of the season. Translation: Mauer would need to come close to replicating the two hottest stretches of his season (May and these past 15 games, when he was a combined 74 for 162). Not impossible, but not likely for someone who has taken a pounding at catcher.
2) Is it a crime that the Twins have wasted such magnificent years from Mauer, Jason Kubel and Justin Morneau? (Yes, yes it is).
3) Even if the Twins continue to flounder in mediocrity, is Mauer a viable MVP candidate? If he winds up hitting somewhere around .360-.370 with 30-plus home runs and 100-plus RBI, perhaps winning another batting title in the process, he would have to at least become part of the conversation, right?
See that picture? That's from spring training this year. While it might seem like a farce or some sort of not-so-amusing joke right now, we assure you that at the time it was not for a parody story. All five of those pitchers -- Glen Perkins, Scott Baker, Nick Blackburn, Kevin Slowey and Francisco Liriano -- had shown sufficient promise and/or performance in 2008 to give the Twins great hope that they had solved their rotation problems for years to come.
Roughly 4 1/2 months into this season, however, with a new ballpark set to open to great fanfare and expectations in 2010, the same set of five is pockmarked with question marks. Perkins started strong but has been abysmal since then. He has a 7.34 ERA since those first three starts of the season and has battled a mysterious shoulder problem. Baker has been much better since a slow start, but he still has an alarming tendency to cough up leads and doesn't make enough batters miss to be an ace (or even a No. 2 starter, in the eyes of many). The Blackburn backslide lately has been alarming. Slowey was effective when healthy, but he's done for the year with an injury. Liriano has been a puzzling mess all season and now he, too, is on the DL.
The questions, then, are these: Was last year the mirage, or was this year the mirage? Or does the truth about this set of pitchers lie somewhere between the 2008 promise and the 2009 letdown? Which of these five do you go into 2010 counting on to be in the rotation, which do you hope will rebound, and which do you give up on? And, big picture, if you think 2008 was a mirage -- albeit a fun one -- how much long-term damage might that season have done?
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