Monday, August 28, 2006

Those Pesky Twins

A.J. Pierzynski had 2 home runs against his old team, but the Sox still dropped 2 of 3.

The Minnesota Twins have to be about the 9th-best team in the American League, in terms of raw talent. With the exception of Johan Santana and Joe Mauer, I wouldn't take one player from the Twins and put him on the Sox.

And yet, just as they've been doing since 2001, the Twins keep poking and prodding and blooping and gnawing until you look around to discover you have no skin left. Hence Ozzie's all-too-perfect nickname for them, The Piranhas.

The Sox were equal to the task this weekend against the Twinkies, yet still managed to lose two of three. Friday was a team failure with runs being cut down at the plate and Javy Vazquez, Neal Cotts, and David Riske blow a 3-0 lead for a 6-5 loss. The ghost of Steve Bartman was invoked as well, with the final out being recorded after a fan interfered with Justin Morneau's attempt to catch Jermaine Dye's foul pop. Then on Saturday, Jose Contreras remained in his free-fall and put the Sox in a 5-1 hole...yet JD cranked a 2-run shot off Joe Nathan in the bottom of the ninth to tie the game at 7...only to have Nick Cobb (er...Punto) win the game with a seeing-eye single in the 11th.

So for those of you who were contemplating suicide after the first two games, the news that Mark Buehrle was set to start the finale probably didn't move you too far off the ledge. Buehrle has just one win in his last 11 starts. Sunday, however, he was dynamic to the tune of 1 run over 7 and 1/3. The win pulled the Sox back to within a half-game of the Wild Card lead and held position at 5.5 back of the Tigers in the Divisional race.

With the Sox playing Tampa Bay in the middle of the week followed by a trip to Cleveland, the top 3 teams in the AL Central could also be the top 3 teams in the American League by Labor Day, with all of them seperated by 2 to 3 games. Whole lotta baseball left to play...



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