Minnesota Twins (27-25) @ Oakland Athletics (26-26)
The Twins wrapped up a very successful 5-1 homestand by sweeping the White Sox in three games. Since being swept by the Indians in Cleveland, the Twins have won 4 straight series. Oakland also had a day off yesterday after winning two of three from the visiting Texas Rangers. Before that series Oakland scuffled a bit on a road trip through Chicago and Baltimore, losing two of three to both the Sox and the O’s. Oakland is at .500 right now, and they’ve been consistent thus far, finishing April with a 12-13 record, and a 14-13 record in May. In an effort to show they are a .500 team in every way, the A’s are 13-13 at home on the season. Minnesota enters this series with a 12-11 record on the road. The Twins moved past the White Sox into third place, yet remain 5.5 game behind Cleveland. The A’s are likewise in third place in the West, 5.5 games behind the Twins next opponent, the Angels.
Previously, I linked to the single season home run leaders from each state. Here are the career leaders. Additionally, here are the career leaders in strikeouts for each state (and some countries), which also includes active leaders for each state. Anyone from N. Dakota just needs to suit up for a day and they can claim the active lead. Most interesting is the heated battle for the lead in Venezuelan born hurlers. Current standings are 1. Wilson Alvarez (1330), 2. Freddy Garcia (1246), 3. Johan Santana (1233).
Santana will get a chance to gain some ground on Sunday when he faces Chad Gaudin, who just finished a 4-0 May (2.15 ERA, 0 HR) and hasn’t allowed an earned run in his last two starts (14 IP). Other matchups for the weekend include Kevin Slowey’s major league debut against Joe Kennedy, who’s coming off a terrible start against Baltimore (4.2 IP, 7 R, 8 H, 5 BB) and Carlos Silva versus Joe Blanton, who suffered a similar fate against the O’s (6.0 IP, 8 R, 10 H, 3 HR).
The A’s have suffered a fair amount of injuries so far this year, and it’s the hot topic for all their blogs it seems. 12 Oakland players have been on the DL, even Bob Geren’s cliches are starting to show signs of wear and tear. The injuries have been so consistent that the writers at Athletics Nation are starting to reuse their headlines. Theories abound on why the A’s are seemingly always injured. Could it be a conspiracy? Actually, Catfish Stew isn’t all that surprised, it stands to reason that this particular group of players is spending significant time on the DL. This Hardball Times article about how the “new inefficiency” is players who are injury risks raises the possibility that this method of mixing and matching could be part of the design.
Athletics Nation is unique (or at least in rare company) in the access it has to the clubhouse and front office of the team. As evidence, here is a Q & A with manager Bob Geren which is populated with questions from readers of the blog itself. One of the questions concerns a new ballpark and what the increased revenue for the A’s could mean. Perhaps as a foreshadowing of things to come, the A’s broke character a little bit and signed Nick Swisher to a 5 year deal worth over $25 million. Other questions concern Jason Kendall, whose continued struggles (.189/.233/.201) have begun to influence a groundswell of support for Adam Melhuse.
On a completely random note, rookie Travis Buck has been playing well, and may in the running for some hardware by the end of the year.
Finally, Ryan Langerhans didn’t spend much time on the A’s roster, but, in that time he contributed mightily to the all-important “hotness quotient”. And since I’m always aiming to please as many readers as possible, I feel duty-bound to point out that the A’s wives aren’t all that bad looking either. For something that’s more baseball related, keep scrolling down to see Oakland players wearing socks the way they were meant to be worn (with stirrups!).