I'm about to head to the airport after covering Yanks-Twins yesterday. But first, a few observations as I look out of my hotel room window off Avenue of the Americas..
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire's feelings were pretty clear yesterday when asked about the possibility of losing 100 games. It's embarrassing for any organization to lose that much. For the Twins, it would be a shocker after winning the division last year.
But I don't think Gardy has the bullets to win four out of the next 10 games.
His roster has been depleted by his best players being shut down. The bigger issue is the pitching staff. How many starters do you think can go out and pitch six strong innings right now? Scott Diamond and Liam Hendriks spent most of the season in the minors. Anthony Swarzak is a replacement starter. Kevin Slowey can't finish off hitters, That leaves Carl Pavano.
I think the Twins are losing 100.
I thought it was pretty classy for Gardy, Joe Nathan and other Twins to tip their caps to Mariano Rivera after he set the all-time saves record yesterday. Rivera has been pure class his entire career, a career based mostly on one amazing pitch - a cut fastball.
I was talking with Michael Cuddyer about the pitch after yesterday's game. Rivera doesn't throw as hard as he used to but the movement he gets on that pitch has been impressive. He also manipulates it well.
``You don't know what depth it will have from pitch to pitch, Cuddy said.
Cuddy held his hands out two feet apart and said, ``sometimes it moves like this,'' then he held them 10 inches apart and said, ``sometimes it moves like this.''
``I know I haven't had a lot of success against him (he's 2-for-10, not counting the postseason) but I enjoy facing him. Any time you can eliminate pitches down to one pitch, you feel comfortable as a hitter.''
Jason Kubel, by the way, is 5-for-12 against Rivera. That includes the grand slam he hit off him last year.
It was neat to watch the Twins' young players take in Yankee Stadium for the first time. Joe Benson and Trevor Plouffe were the only two players on the field three hours before game time. They just stood in one spot for several moments, looking around. Then they ran in the outfield.
It was Plouffe's first trip to New York ever, and he was really excited. He pointed to an autographed Derek Jeter jersey in his stall after the game.
``He's done everything the right way,'' Plouffe said. ``He what every shortstop wants to be.''
Kyle Waldrop, after the team arrived at the hotel Sunday night, ran out to Times Square to take pictures.
Ben Revere said he played in old Yankee Stadium as a teenager during a tournament but had never been in the new stadium.
``I'm looking forward to getting out there and seeing everything and seeing what the fans say to you,'' Revere said.
What? He should talk to Denard Span, who got killed by fans last year during the playoffs.
I'm really starting to get ticked off at Mike Martz.
Readers keep asking me for thoughts on Joe Benson and Chris Parmelee. September evaluations can be misleading. But Benson has all the talent in the world. He can fly, has a strong arm and hitting a ball to the opposite field like he did at Target Field last week was impressive. But his throws have been up the line, he's tried to make catches he shouldn't have tried and has been in several 0-2 holes at the plate. He can be a star in this league but we have to see what he takes out of this experience and how he adjusts.
Same for Parmelee. I've wondered about his power numbers in the minors but you can tell he's got the pop and he's not shabby at first base. He doesn't seem to be overwhelmed either.
The more I think about it, the more I think the Twins should go out and get a proven shortstop during the offseason to settle down the infield. Gardy needs to have someone reliable out there. The number of players to man short for the Twins since Jason Bartlett left is getting too long,
I would move Tsuyoshi Nishioka to second and have him compete with Alexi Casilla for the starting job there. Casilla would be the preferred candidate, but Casilla seems to break down every year.
I'm not sure what to do with Plouffe. At times, he looks like a keeper at short. But then he gets a little haywire out there. I do think he can hit 20-25 homers and should be on the field somewhere, maybe as an outfielder, maybe third base. But by adding a reliable shortstop, the Twins can create competition at second and third.
I hope owner Jim Pohlad is ready to spend $12-13 million over the first two rounds of next year's draft. He's going to get the second overall pick and is looking at potential compensation picks for Cuddyer and Kubel. Then he's going to have that high pick in the second round. One of the Twins blunders in past drafts has been to overlook the most talented prospects to sign draft picks at slot. We see how that has turned out for the farm system. This year, they went over slot for their first three picks and need to keep it up. Get the best prospects possible into the system
And, yes, I'm starting to think both Cuddy and Kubel could sign elsewhere after the season.
I wonder if Mrs. Joe C, has recovered after her beloved ASU lost at Illinois on Saturday. Orange Crush, Julie.
On a related note, Mike Reuvers, you da man. Congrats on your award.