Looking on the bright side of life
I have always been a Twins fan, and I hopefully always will be.
Since I feel really umcomfortable when people are negative about something that I enjoy talking about, I think I will start a list of things that has gone right for the Twins this year, no matter how few or (unlikely) many there may be. Feel free to add on any you think of.
1. Health: Coming into this year, health was a big problem for the Twins. Mauer, Morneau, and Span were all coming-off seriously injury-plagued years. Except for Morneau's quick trip to the disabled list because of his wrist, all three have been healthy and fairly productive. Unfortunately, Scott Baker and Joel Zumaya were both put on the DL at the beginning of this year and won't pitch at all.
2. Off-season signings: Not counting Marquis (because I refuse to go there in a positive post), Terry Ryan did a very good job of picking up guys that will help us for what seems to be a long time. Jared Burton has been a gold-mine strike coming out of the bullpen. When healthy, Capps has been a lot more productive than last year. Ryan Doumit has been the true backup catcher that the Twins have been missing since Drew Butera took over the position (and even before that). Josh Willingham has been 220% of advertised on the offensive side, but exactly as advertised when it comes to defense. Jamey Carroll has brought veteran leadership and the ability to play three infield positions at will, and he already has more RBI's than last year with the Dodgers (not that his average is anything to jump for joy about.)
3. Offensive production-While some people may be getting down on the Twins for the low number of runs they have been averaging, when they do score, they score a F*(*$($% lot. Willingham already is nearing his HR total from all of last year, and we haven't even hit the Trade Deadline yet. He is also tied for 6th in the Majors with 27 HR, and is 3rd in the Majors with 78 RBI's. Joe Mauer is currently tied for 8th in BA in the Majors with a .328 mark and all alone at 4th in OBP with a .418 mark. Justin Morneau has been having his struggles against lefties, but not only has it seemed like he has been having an easier time against them recently, he has also been pounding righties to the tune of .311 and 11 HR all year long. Doumit has been a fairly solid presence in the lower half of the order for the Twins. Ben Revere, while not having the # of AB's to qualify for anything right now, would be sitting with the 15th best average in the Majors @ .315, and he also has 24 SB's. Man, I almost forgot about Trever Plouffe turning into a good impression of Albert Pujols, at least while he was healthy.
4. Bullpen-All right, the bullpen hasn't been perfect, but a few of the men in there are having very good years. Perkins has been almost as solid as last year, and will be in high demand if the Twins ever offer him up on the trade block. Burton has been almost as good, with just a few bad outings marring his stats. Capps, while certainly not worth the salary the Twins gave him this year, has been all right when healthy, notching 14/15 saves. Casey Fien hasn't been horrible, but hasn't had much of a chance to show what he has. Alex Burnett seems to finally be turning into the reliable bullpen arm that Gardy and Andy thought he was two years ago. Swarzak and Duensing have been serviceable, with both making spot starts as well as pitching out of the bullpen. Also, for the second year in a row, we have had to have a position player make a spot relief appearance, with Butera only giving up a walk in one shutout inning of work.
5. Starting Pitching- Again, I ain't gonna talk about Marquis. Yeah, there ain't much to be happy about here, but for certain, Scott Diamond is saving the Twins from actually being the worst team out there right now. While he may not be an ace in most teams, he has been ours since joining the Twins from AAA. While most of the rest of the current pitching staff, including Deduno, DeVries, Walters, and Hendriks, are more of AAAA pitchers on any other staff. However, while they have been up here, Deduno, DeVries and Walters, while having struggles like all pitchers do, have shown that they have promising features that might keep them around in the Majors.
6. Guys who were already here-Well, I have already talked about most of them, but the guys that have been kept around from previous years haven't done too badly. Mauer is having another Mauer year, Morneau is steadily raising his BA and HR totals, Span and Morneau appear to have fully recovered from their concussions (or so it seems), Parmalee has been up and down, literally between AAA and the Majors as well as his performance in both and appears to be a lot better than what his stat line says. Danny V. has been demoted to AAA and called up only because Plouffie got hurt, not because he has been playing well (oops, that isn't quite positive, but then again, I ain't a big fan of Danny V.)
After last year, it really seems like the pain of having a very bad team has made me look on the bright side of life and be numb to the pain that they cause me. So if you have suggestions or arguments, feel free to post and I will haggle it out with you.
P.S. Looking at the length of this, it probably should have been a blog, but I felt more like this was a topic for discussion under the forum.