While Joe Mauer rests his sore knee and Jim Thome sits out with an aching back, J.J. Hardy has been sent back to Minneapolis to have his left knee examined. Mauer's recent cortisone shot should help matters on the road, but Thome is considering heading back to Target Field to kick it in the whirlpool and... shake that pesky Sports Illustrated Cover jinx?
Of course, the team has this luxury since they've already clinched the American League Central division title. However, the Twins have been more or less playing like garbage, dropping game one in Kansas City after being swept by the Tigers in Detroit. Luckily for those with their eye on home field advantage, the Tampa Bay Rays and New York Yankees haven't played up to par as of late either.
As powerful as momentum can be, all three of the aforementioned clubs have been struggling to get a running start into the postseason. While the Rays are on a two-game losing streak, the Yankees have dropped five of their last six and are trailing Tampa Bay by a half game in the AL East with one more victory on the season than the 92-64 Twins.
But all the Twins can really do is mind their own business and win some ballgames. And knock it off with the crappy pitching. I'm looking at you, postseason rotation. Francisco Liriano's short outing on Friday is forgiven however, since he had a stomach ache. Dropping a game here and there while resting guys after the clinch is to be expected, but matching the longest losing streak of the season (to a couple sub-par teams) is unacceptable.
Nick Blackburn (10-10, 5.23 ERA) will try to get things back on track when he takes the hill at Kauffman Stadium for game two against right-hander Sean O'Sullivan (2-6. 7.21 ERA) at 7:10pm tonight.
Are you guys concerned at all?
Minnesota has welcomed National League opponents with open arms for the past few seasons, sporting the very best Interleague record in all of the majors since 2006. Meanwhile, the Rockies are looking for their sixth straight victory against an American League team for the first time in roughly four years.
Despite dropping the last two games against the Atlanta Braves over the weekend, the Twins should be optimistic with Pavano on the bump, since he's tossed at least seven innings in each of his last five starts at home, going 3-2 with a 2.84 ERA. Also, Cook hasn't had much luck away from Coors Field, sitting at 0-3 with a 6.81 ERA on the road.