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Over a 162 game season, there are a lot of timelines. Opening Day, to many baseball fans, should be a national holiday. The All-Star break signifies the midpoint of the long season, even if it is after the midpoint. There is the July 31 trade deadline, and then the August waiver trade deadline.
For managers, there is an unwritten timeline sometime in July. Few changes, especially major changes, should be made until the calendar changes to July. Players have historical track records and you ahve to believe in them. Onceyou get to July, a manager knows what changes need to be made. That's why Delmon Young appears to be hitting ahead of Michael Cuddyer in the lineup. That's why the team made the decision to move Brian Duensing into the starting rotation. That is why Anthony Slama was finally summoned to the big leagues.
The Twins have had a nice run over the past week, and the starting staff, which has been an issue much of the season, has been good. But it is just one week of success, against bottom wrung teams, and the trade deadline is five days away. What can we make of it? Can we trust that Scott Baker and Kevin Slowey have turned a proverbial corner? Can Brian Duensing provide the type of late-season spark that he provided the team last year, late in the season?
How you answer those last two questions should determine whether you think the Twins should go out of their way, and perhaps overspend (dollars or prospects) to acquire a starting pitcher. How Bill Smith and the Twins front office answer those questions will determine what they actually do. After Carl Pavano starts tonight, Brian Duensing will pitch on Wednesday, and Scott Baker will start on Friday. Kevin Slowey is scheduled to start on Saturday, after the trade deadline passes. In other words, there is precious little time to make those judgments at this point.
Timing is everything. Had Baker and Slowey really struggled in their starts in Baltimore, the Twins probably are quite active, maybe the Twins more actively search for a replacement or two. Instead they pitched well, which could give them a short reprieve.
Timing is everything. Glen Perkins may actually have trade value now. Although he is just 4-9 with a 6.24 ERA on the season, he is 3-1 with a 1.99 ERA in five July starts. he has 23 strikeouts to four walks in that time frame.
Timing is everything. Bullpens win in October. Rob Delaney has logged a ton of innings this year (as has everyone who has pitched in the Red Wings bullpen). His 5.22 ERA seems almost unfathomable since he has 18 walks and 71 strikeouts in 61.1 innings. Since Anthony Slama's promotion, Delaney has saved two games. In those two games, he faced six batters and struck them all out. He is someone that is well respected around the league. Also in Rochester, Pat Neshek is reportedly consistently hitting 89 and 90 on the Red Wings radar guns. After one rough week, Kyle Waldrop is back on track.
As LaVelle E. Neal reported last week, Carlos Gutierrez has been moved to the New Britain bullpen. In his 6.1 innings out of the bullpen, he has walked one and struck out six. With his arm strength and pitches, he could be very nearly ready to help at the big league level, if needed. Timing is everything!
Timing is everything. Sometimes teams can get better deals by waiting to make trades until August. Case in point? The Twins acquired Carl Pavano a week after the July 31 deadline a year ago, in exchange for long-time Twins minor leaguer Yohan Pino. The Twins (And Twins fans!) could never have imagined what he has become.
Speaking of timing, how about the timing of Danny Valencia's first major league home run. A grand slam against the reigning AL Cy Young Award Winner (Zack Greinke) to give the Twins a 6-0 lead in the first inning last night? Good timing. The timing he must be feeling at the plate is incredible since he has three or more hits in each of the last three games. Jason Repko's timing on Billy Butler's fly out to the fence in centerfield was pretty impressive. Joe Mauer's timing on a 5-5 day was very nice.
Congratulations to former Twins pitching and 2005 first-round pick Matt Garza who has had several no-hit bids last into the late innings. How about the timing in that he finally completed a no-hitter against the Detroit Tigers, helping the Twins. But, how great is it that Garza also waiting to complete a no-hitter until a timing in which Twins fans are so happy with the production of Delmon Young that we are even happy for Garza and no longer complaining about the trade?
It can be good, or it can be bad, but Timing is Everything!
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