Startribune.com 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.
I chose not to watch a lot of baseball over the weekend, although the times I checked out the Twins over the weekend seemed to coincide with Tsuyoshi Nishioka messing up another play, Trevor Plouffe forgetting the number of outs and Joe Mauer hitting his second home run of the season --tying him for 10th on the team with the noted sluggers Butera, Repko and Casilla.
Their collapse is such that the Twins fell into last place in the AL Central on Monday by losing both games of the doubleheader with the White Sox.
Welcome to September baseball the way it is for many teams in the majors, even if it is an unfamiliar feeling for Twins fans.
For these final weeks, the Twins lineup will be an experimental mixed-bag. Youngsters who are being called up from Rochester and New Britain to set a sense of what they may be able to contribute in 2012.
Keep in mind that September baseball of this sort is a fine laboratory for false positives. If a player does exceedingly well, it can be the combination of playing against opposing call-ups and the fact that it's the first time the guys are being seen as major-leaguers. So if Joe Benson smashes a few home runs this month, you can take it as a good sign, but don't be penciling him in as a starter in 2012.
Still, sending the rookie Liam Hendriks to the mound tonight against the White Sox beats most of the alternatives.
At the same time, it would be nice if the silence from the front office would end. I keep waiting for the Pohlads and Bill Smith to address what went wrong and share the distress they must be feeling. I understand that the specifics of making things better for 2012 can't be addressed right. Smith can't say, "Yes, we're going to make a big play for C.J. Wilson," for example.
But as a paying customer, I find the silence frustrating.
In addition to the curiosity about watching some of the new guys play over the final 21 games, I want to sense the urgency that management feels to turn things around quickly. I want to feel confident that 2011 was a blip in the local baseball economy and not the beginning of an era of third-world baseball in Minnesota.
If you need winning baseball right now, you can always go to Midway Stadium on Wednesday and Thursday -- where the St. Paul Saints will be playing in the finals of the American Association playoffs after beating Winnipeg on Friday in the final game of their best-of-5 series. Games 1 and 2 of the finals (against the Grand Prairie AirHogs) are in St. Paul at 7 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday.
I don't know if the Saints do the little things right, but they scored the winning run in the bottom of the ninth Monday on an infield single, sacrifice bunt, infield grounder (a/k/a productive out) and two-out error.
If you want to know more, go here.
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