Minnesota Twins (15-13) v. Boston Red Sox (18-9)
The Twins return home after a .500 road trip in which they won 2 of 3 from Detroit and lost 2 of 3 to Tampa Bay. The Red Sox won 2 of 3 in New York last weekend, then split a two game set with Oakland before winning a makeup game with Seattle on Thursday night. The Red Sox currently sit 5.5 games ahead of second place Toronto and Tampa Bay in the AL East while the Twins remain in third place in the Central 3.5 back of the Indians. The Twins are 7-7 at home in 2007, while the Sox are 9-5 on the road. Since the beginning of time the Twins are 278-266 against the Red Sox (160-112 at home)
On to the Red Stockings:
First off, Jonathan Papelbon blew his first save of the year on Tuesday, and given his amazing success thus far in his career, his failure has been the occasion of some comment. You have to admit it was odd that it was the bottom of the A’s lineup that finally got to him. For those in charge of the music videos here at the WGOM, there are some real winners in that last link, don’t say I didn’t warn you. Here is some analysis of whether Papelbon has been as lights out as his reputation, or whether his legend has already outgrown reality. Also out of the bullpen is the April Rookie of the Month, Hideki Okajima, and my only question about him is, what is he looking at?
The Red Sox, playing on the East Coast, are the subject of their fair share of media exposure, especially when they line up against the Yankees. Some fans tire of that circus quickly, but they still revel in any Yankees failure.
Speaking of media coverage, Manny Ramirez and his “Manny being Manny” antics are always a favorite topic. Even given all his quirks, I think this may be going a bit far. Some people have noticed that Manny may be showing signs of slowing this year, but in his last 4 games he’s 8-17 with 2 HR. For everything you wanted to know about Manny’s intangibles, here’s the scouting report.
The only position where I saw any controversy was at second base where youngster Dustin Pedroia is hitting .172/.294/.224 thus far and his backup Alex Cora has been hitting the ball well (.345/.406/.724). Many still advocate allowing Pedroia to find his stroke while playing everyday, and indeed the coaching staff says they have no intention of platooning the two second basemen.
The Twins will face Tim Wakefield, Julian Tavares, and Curt Schilling, owner of probably the most well known blog written by a current MLB player, 38 pitches. I honestly hadn’t checked it out at all before putting this together, but I did read some of the Q&A sessions which yielded some interesting nuggets. For instance the dynamic betwixt a starter and a reliever who blew a lead is the kind of thing I find fascinating. Schilling, also responded through his blog to Gary Thorne’s comments about the famous bloody sock. That was a short-lived controversy but it did raise the question, why do people love to hate Curt Schilling? (the other article that’s referred to in the previous link is here if you’re interested)
Theo Epstein was heralded as a genius when he stepped in as the GM and built a world championship team, but now people are starting to ask, “What have you done for me lately?” In Epstein’s defense, he has made some pretty good moves to build the farm system, especially developing pitching prospects. However, I thought the article had a decidedly optimistic view of the Matsuzaka bidding and signing. I’m not going to really touch on Daisuke Matsuzaka this time around, but as far as the gyroball question goes, I’ve heard from the only expert that matters, so I’m a believer.
Finally, David Ortiz has to be acknowledged as one of the best hitters in baseball, it’s no surprise that he made the Red Sox fans “all-beloved team”. Once his career is over he may just have a career in acting. If you haven’t seen the Sportscenter commercial with Ortiz and Jorge Posada, I strongly urge you to check it out. Additionally, there is this one with Brian Urlacher. Both were entertaining.
OTHER RED SOX BLOGS:
Literally hundreds, check out the blogroll at www.fenwayfanatics.com for a pretty good idea.