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.
Friday: A blowout that sent me to Costco after the second inning, which is really more than you need to know. Missed Jason Kubel's failed inside-the-parker and Nick Punto going deep, thing that were better to hear about than to see.
Saturday: Four hours at Park Tavern with a couple dozen other Twins fans. Most attention had drifted away from the game until the ninth inning when the home runs started flying off Twins bats and that 9-4 deficit became a 13-10 victory.
Sunday: Carl Pavano improves to 8-6 and again shows his worth with the A-lineup (National League version) behind him and the offense drops the talented Harry Leroy Halladay to 8-6 by swinging early in the count.
The weekend series went all over the place and ended with the Twins taking 2 of 3 from one of the National League's elite, albeit struggling, teams. Philadelphia has gone into extended offensive slumps and suffered from inconsistent pitching and the beginning and end of its games.
You can look at Halladay and see a record that's only two games over .500 but he has a 2.43 ERA.
You can look at Halladay as also see this: 16 earned runs in 95 1/3 innings against National League teams and 15 earned runs in 19 2/3 innings in three interleague starts against the Red Sox, Yankees and Twins. Is that something to ponder as we debate which high-profile, ace pitcher to get behind (Lee, Oswalt, Haren, Blyleven) in trade talks. You worried about how a National League ace would fare coming to the American League? Hey, aren't you glad the Twins didn't make a more serious play for Ben Sheets (2-7, 4.85, $10 million in Oakland)? Would Pavano win 18 games in the NL?
It feels like the success of this weekend can mask the frustration of the previous weekend's series against Atlanta. That wouldn't have been the case if the Twins slide had continued. We were joking at the bar on Saturday about how another loss, combined with a Detroit victory, would leave the Twins a half-game out of first place with only 94 left to play.
Then, Drew Butera batted.
And the Twins won, the Tigers lost and the Twins lead the division by 1 1/2 games with 93 to play. Six more NL games to play and then the schedule gets fun with a Detroit-Tampa Bay-Toronto-Detroit-White Sox stretch to last through mid-July. (The Tigers finally play challenging National League teams this week -- road games against the Mets and Atlanta).
Not a lot more going on in Section 219. It's a good day to hear what's on your mind.
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