Thursday, June 9, 2011

Range of Emotions

I've long since given up hope that the Twins will make the playoffs. And I'm totally ok with that. I've been spoiled with contending teams for awhile, and I have forgotten what it's like to just root for a team and enjoy the baseball without the constraints of expectations. Of course, winning is still more fun than losing, but if there's no entitlement to the winning, the losing isn't as bad.

I've reached a point where I can simply take in the games one at a time, and experience my emotions within the context of each individual game as they come. With that, taking the series from the division leader was more good than bad.

Happiness: I'm going to say it again -- I'm having a lot of fun watching Ben Revere play. There are guys I love because they're really good at baseball, and then there are guys I love because they're lovable. Revere falls into the "lovable" category. It's true that he's not the most talented player to ever grace a baseball diamond -- he won't hit any home runs and his throwing arm is pretty weak -- but those faults can be worked around. He's fast, small, energetic, and very exciting to watch. And look at him as he's playing; he's always smiling. He loves this game, and he shows it. It's good to see someone who is actually having fun playing. He makes me want to keep watching, and I haven't been able to say that about a single player in a long time. I really hope that I can keep watching him play when Jason Kubel and Jim Thome come back.

Also under the "happiness" emotion, I'm thrilled the boys in the bullpen are having a little fun. If you've been watching the Twins television broadcasts, you've seen that they've been playacting on their way out to the bullpen area before the games (here's a video). First they pretended to be bobsled team, then a boat. It's about time this team showed a little personality. The season is a grind, they have to have fun in order to keep their sanity. Besides, keeping loose and playful probably helps them perform a little better.

Frustration: Delmon Young has become the complete opposite of Ben Revere and is pretty much batting .800 in frustrating me every time I see him. He looks so uncomfortable and jumpy at the plate -- much like what a 4-year-old looks like when he has to pee. He's slow and plodding when he runs. He's become totally unreliable in the outfield. And, yes, his arm is stronger that Revere's, but it's not really all that accurate. I get worried every time a routine fly ball goes out to left because I'm not confident at all that he'll be able to catch it. I really don't like hating on players -- baseball is hard. Plus, he's such important part of this team, the team pretty much goes how he goes. However, he simply doesn't look like he likes his job. He's never really been much of a smiley guy, but his facial expressions and body language really make it seem like he'd really rather be anyplace else in the world.

I'm also becoming increasingly frustrated with Matt Capps. He's logged only 8 saves in 13 save opportunities. That means he's blown 5. This does not inspire confidence. He's still a good pitcher; he has a WHIP under 1, which means he isn't giving up a ton of singles and walks. But he is giving up home runs. This is not good for the guy who's coming in the game with a less-than-three-run lead. Unfortunately, I don't have an answer within the organization to fix this problem. Now that the Twins are batting a little better and getting leads, they really need a real closer.

Worry: I have to say that I'm quite worried about Denard Span. He suffered ... well, something ... on Friday during a collision with the Royal's catcher on Friday. He tried to play through on Monday as the DH, but he said that every at bat was very fuzzy. He later told reporters that the Vestibular Neuritis (vertigo) he suffered in 2009 never really went away. And now, he's not himself, and he knows that something's really wrong. As unfortunate as it is to take his production out of the line up, it's really worrisome because this is more than just a baseball injury. This is a quality-of-life injury. It's one thing to heal from a quad strain or even surgery; it's quite another thing to figure out and heal from a neuro issue.

I'm also beginning to worry about Justin Morneau. His aches and pains are really mounting, and I have to wonder how much more of those he can take before landing on the DL. His neck and shoulder hurt. His wrist is swollen and sore. Eventually, dealing with these pains is going to cause something else to strain or sprain or break, and it'll be bad.


DL Update:

For the second consecutive series, there are no new paper dolls to make. Good.

As I mentioned above, I'm worried about Denard; I sincerely hope I don't have to make a paper doll for him.

As for all the other guys, it sounds like they're all progressing along. Joe Mauer and Tsuyoshi Nishioka have been playing for the Miracle. They may need time at higher levels in order to face better pitching, but I'm willing to guess that they'll both be back with the Twins within 10 days. Perkins and Nathan are throwing. Thome and Kubel are said to be improving.

We're still watching Nick Blackburn and hoping his back stiffness is gone. He's scheduled to pitch Thursday night.

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