Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Respawning the Piranhas

The White Sox are back in town.

Over the past handful of years, that's been music to the ears of baseball fans in Minnesota. Since 2008, the Twins are 21-6 at home against the Sox. Ozzie Guillen often lamented his team's hex at the Metrodome (where they hadn't posted a winning record since 2005), and Target Field has - up to this point - not proven much friendlier.

Baseball is a random game where few things can be relied upon, but success for the Twins when facing the South Siders on their own turf has been one of them.

Will that continue to be the case this year? Rain has delayed the latest chapter of this classic rivalry, which figures to get underway tonight. It seems an appropriate time to gauge each club.

At present, the Twins and White Sox both find themselves in unfamiliar and undesirable territory: the bottom.

Chicago has gradually recovered from its miserable 14-23 start, winning 19 of 31 to move within two games of .500.

The Twins, on the other hand, saw their early drought carry on longer and have experienced a more rapid correction, with nine wins in their past 11 games. They remain 13 games under .500, but will look to continue their march toward respectability this week against Chicago.

Prior to the season, most people expected the Tigers, White Sox and Twins to battle for the AL Central crown. With the latter two climbing steadily while the Indians free-fall (they've dropped 11 of their last 15), we may be seeing the cream rise to the top.

But Detroit isn't going away, so these are critical games for the teams set to compete at Target Field tonight and tomorrow. With Alexi Casilla and Ben Revere setting the tone for the offense (and Tsuyoshi Nishioka likely to be activated for tonight's game), the Twins will employ a speed-based, small-ball approach that prompted Ozzie Guillen to token the "piranhas" nickname several years ago.

If the Twins can effectively implement this game plan and win, as they have consistently over the past couple weeks, we can expect plenty of effuse praise for the scrappy bunch from Ron Gardenhire. And Guillen, of course.


Matt said...

Gardy is pretty good at managing a club with speed and little/no real power. He's proven that before. We all know how hard it is to win in the post season like that, but in the AL Central, it can work really well.

Anonymous said...

Am I the only person that isnt ignoring ben reveres 590 ops? Thats terrible. No walks, no power. His defense is fine but i certainly wouldnt say hes played well. Its nice the twins are winning but this is still bad baseball.

JimCrikket said...

Without a doubt, the biggest contribution Revere is making is with his glove. That said, he does have 5 stolen bases. I'm too lazy to look it up, but if we assume they all came after singles and you recalculate his SLG and OPS with 5 more doubles, his stat line wouldn't look as anemic. Frankly, I don't care whether a guy hits a double or steals 2B after a single.

TT said...

Revere has a total of 85 plate appearances. There is little meaning that can be taken from the results from that small number.

That said, I think the reason people are excited is because of his recent production. In June he is .292/.333/.313. But the folks that see him replacing any of the current outfielders are getting ahead of themselves.

I suspect Revere will be sent back to Rochester to play everyday once all the outfielders are healthy. At least I think that would make more sense than keeping him as a fifth outfielder.

Jay Hamilton said...

As much as I really like the man, it's time for Jason Repko to go down, and Ben Revere to stay up. Ben is part of the Twin's future, and he will probably play every day in some capacity. Repko provides valuable insurance in case somebody else gets hurt, or we manage to trade Delmon. I hope we keep Rivera as well, if for no other reason than Bert can't cope with Rivera/Revere. Besides, Rene has earned an extended stay. Butera can go back to AAA where he belongs.

Matt said...

Besides, Rene has earned an extended stay. Butera can go back to AAA where he belongs.
You're right, but they'll keep three around because their $184 million man is made of thin glass.