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.

Kicked in the teeth, kind of

Posted by: Howard Sinker under Farm System, Twins game coverage Updated: May 19, 2010 - 8:45 AM

This game is humbling sometimes. Just when you want to make mock of a team like Toronto, which doesn't seem to be as good as its record indicates, the Twins put in a workday that looks like  they sent their children to the ballpark to play let's pretend.

The worst thing about Tuesday for some of us was finding out belatedly that MLB Network had picked up the Twins-Jays game. And some of us had the greater misfortune of having enough cable in our workplaces -- you know, channel numbers like 74533 -- that we got suckered into watching more than was healthy.

I wasn't the only one with a false sense of optimism. Bert went on a couple of times during Monday's victory after how Carl Pavano's ability to change speeds should put him in position to totally fluster the free-swinging Blue Jays.

Yeah, sure.

There are days when it's easy to forget that the Twins have made it through the first one-quarter of the season -- yes, they'll reach the 40-game mark after today -- in first place and nine games over .500. They are a team that plays pretty well most of time, which makes the clunkers stand out even more.

Carl Pavano embodies that as much as any of his teammates. His 4-4 record is deceptive because he's pitched really well is six of his eight starts.

Really, really well. In those six starts, Pavano has given up only 10 earned runs in 43 innings -- a 2.09 ERA.

In his two terrible ones -- yesterday and last month against Kansas City -- he gave up 13 earned runs in 7 1/3 innings, for an ERA that shouldn't be allowed to be published.

Six good ones and two bad ones is a ratio I'll be happy to accept over the course of the season.

Justin Morneau is the other great example. You can remember the three games in which he struck out every time he came to the plate. (So three of 37 games account for 10 of his 29 strikeouts.)

Or you can look at the rest of his incredible quarter-pole numbers -- including the .482 on-base percentage, 1.176 OPS (on base-plus-slugging percentage) and the fact that he's grounded into ZERO double plays. (Eat your heart out on that last one, Michael Cuddyer!)

I think the Twins are playing at a pace that would be reasonable for them to continue. In other words, a team that is nine games over .500 in each quarter of the season would finish with a 99-63 record. If they lose tonight, and drop to eight games over after 40 games, that would play out to 96.5 victories.

That would be hard to complain about.

***

Class AAA Rochester's game against Syracuse and super-prospect pitcher Stephen Strasburg was rained out Tuesday. They'll make up the game at 6 p.m. tonight. If you want to listen, go to our minor-league page and scroll down to the Rochester webcast link.

 

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