digital sports editor Howard Sinker used to cover the Twins and now shares season tickets with friends in Section 219 of Target Field. He blogs about baseball from the perspective of a long-time fan who loves the game, doesn’t always believe the hype and likes hearing what others think. Howard sometimes talks about sports with Cathy Wurzer on MPR's Morning Edition.

Twins: Better than we think they are?

Posted by: Howard Sinker under Ron Gardenhire, Twins offense Updated: September 10, 2010 - 10:51 AM

Section 219 loves a good debate and we are proud to subscribe to the notion of "three blog commenters, four opinions."

I thought about that when reading what Zack Greinke, the 2009 Cy Young winner, said about the Twins after losing to them for the fourth time this season.

If you didn't see it, here's what he told writers:

"I don't really understand their team real well. They change throughout the year. They're different hitters than the first time I faced them. And the first time through the order, they're different than the third time through the order. It's like they make adjustments faster than I can make adjustments."

Some of us see the home team's players go to the plate 400-500 times a year, if we commit that much time to watching. During that time, we're going to see at-bats that look clueless, inept or overmatched. Jim Thome can chase breaking pitches in the right-handed batter's box, Joe Mauer can bunt (once, anyway), Delmon Young can slip back into some bad habits.

Baseball is just harder to master than bowling.

On a night when Nos. 2 through 7 in the order combined for one hit, Greinke was done in by the bottom of the order (J.J. Hardy and Matt Tolbert) and a clutch triple by Denard Span, who has under performed compared to our expectations. The previous night, when the Royals avoided challenging Jim Thome his first three times up, Delmon Young and Hardy combined for seven RBI and everyone joined in the offense.

The point?

Any of us can turn an at-bat, a game or even a week's worth of games out of proportion as evidence of why this player stinks or that coach should be replaced or how the season is about to go down the drain.

And while Greinke's words convey more wizardry than I'm comfortable with, I think the sample size is big enough  to look at the standings to decide how things are going.

By that measure, I'm awfully satisfied -- and skittish/excited/nervous/ready for an October filled with baseball.



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