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buzzsaw

Twins tough in October?!

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buzzsaw

Here's another cut and paste jobbie from ESPN:

By Mark Simon, ESPN Research

Remember the 2002 Angels ... or the 2003 Marlins? When a team gets scorching hot after a sluggish start to the season, it is the most dangerous squad come postseason. That's what could happen with the Twins, who clinched a playoff spot with their win over the Royals and the White Sox's loss to the Indians.

Minnesota has been playing unbelievable baseball since early June. If it had maintained that pace for a full season, we would be discussing this team among the great regular-season squads of all time.

Part of the reason for the Twins' remarkable turnaround has been the performances of Johan Santana, Torii Hunter, Joe Nathan, Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer. But manager Ron Gardenhire also deserves credit for getting the most out of unheralded contributors like Nick Punto, Jason Tyner and Dennys Reyes. They're as responsible for the team's long-term success as anyone on the roster, and their postseason performance will go a long way in determining whether Minnesota's magic can continue.

TWINNING WAYS

Home Sweet Dome: The Twins lead the majors with a 51-24 home record in 2006. They're hitting better than .300 at the Metrodome this season, and the bullpen has blown only one save at home all season.

Turning point of the season: May 19, otherwise known as the date of Francisco Liriano's first start. The Twins were 17-24 at that point. They've gone 76-39 since. Also noteworthy: Jason Kubel's walk-off grand slam to beat the Red Sox on June 13, the second win in a stretch in which the Twins won 19 of 20.

Mauer Power: Most people knew that Joe Mauer was going to be great. They didn't realize he'd be great enough to follow up hitting .386 in May by pounding the ball for a .452 batting average in June. Mauer, in his second full season in the big leagues, is a few days away from becoming the first catcher to win a batting title since Ernie Lombardi in 1942.

Justin Time: Torii Hunter has had his share of big hits late this season for the Twins (.330 BA, 9 HR, 26 RBI in September), but no one has had more timely knocks this season than Justin Morneau, who should be among the contenders for AL MVP. After a beaning last season left some to wonder if he'd ever mentally recover, Morneau has been fabulous. He started the season just 7-for-34, but then went 6-for-13, including a walk-off against Mariano Rivera as the Twins took two of three from the Yankees in April. A nasty slump set him back again, but by the end of May, Morneau was on track again. Since June 9, Morneau has been among baseball's very best -- hitting .371 with 23 home runs and 91 RBI in 97 games.

The Unheralded: Joe Nathan doesn't get the publicity that Mariano Rivera does, but he's put up one of the best seasons by a closer in recent history (1.68 ERA, 35 saves, 12.4 K/9, 36 hits allowed in 65 1/3 innings). Offensively, the surprise stars have been Michael Cuddyer, who had four RBI in April but 97 since.

Best chance in the playoffs: If Johan Santana gets to pitch as much as possible. Santana should not only win pitching's triple crown (leading the AL in wins, ERA and strikeouts), he could also be best in opponents batting average (.215) and innings pitched (225 2/3). The Twins are 26-7 when Santana, baseball's closest version of a sure thing, pitches.

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mnwild

Buzz,

1st I want to say I was wrong a few months back when we were going back and forth about who was going to make it and I said the Sox straight out because of their pitching staff, boy was I wrong about that.

Very good article you have there, cant wait till the playoff's start now..

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Eric Wettschreck

Don't go feeling special, dude. A lot of us were thinking the same thing.

I'm diggin the fact that I was wrong and gladly eating some crow. It's not so bad in the crock pot with cream of mushroom soup.

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buzzsaw

I have been wrong as well.. I bashed Torri and Silva and look what they've been doing. Nobody can say that they thought the Twins would be in this position after the forst six weeks of the season... I thought it was a two team race myself... sox and tigers...

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Marmot

I have been a diehard Twins nearly my entire life and I was calling for a Twins fire sale back in June. I figured anyone was tradable except Mauer, Cytana, Liriano, and Morneau.

Boy was I wrong... I can't wait for the playoffs.

Marmot

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Windy City Walleye Hunter

How the roles have changed, huh guys? I was thinking along the same lines that all of you were, except I was loving it since my team had the horses. My horses turned into old nags this year and the funeral was made official. Pay your respects to the dead and move on. Good luck in the playoffs, they are some wild times as I can attest. But seriously now, how much would any of you guys bet at the beginning of the season that the central would send two teams to the playoffs AND that neither of those two teams would be the Indians or Sox? I didn't think so. I know I would not have bet a plug nickel on that wager. I guess that's why the games are played on grass (or similiar substance) instead of paper. More to come, (you know that)

Windy

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buzzsaw

Classy post Windy! I'm done with bashing the White Sox... time to concentrate on whats ahead of us, not whats in the rear view mirror.

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Windy City Walleye Hunter

That's what our party is all about, right Buzz? We are just two classy guys. I won't bail on you, my brotha from anotha motha! Windy

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buzzsaw

Yeah, but my avatar is killing me!!! ARGHHHH

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genegodawa

Yeah, but if it was a WSox one you'd have killed yourself already. I'll glady switch after your week is up.

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IFallsRon

If Mr. September hits more meaningful homers.

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buzzsaw

I'd rather have a WS logo, I am as anti GB Packer as anybody.... all the Madden Favray lovin on the boob tube over the years, all the Wisconsinites who think he's a god... It's disgusting to me listening to them talk about lambeau is the best place to play (which it's absoultely NOT), how they are the best fans (doubt it)... they are bandwagon or they would be as diehard in their love for the Brewers and Bucks... but noooo, most of them say, "I like the Twins and packers"... WHAT?! It's bandwagon at it's best, hope they have fun with about five more years of horrible seasons... Ron Wolf is so great!!! Holmgren is a god!!! Chmura is a role model!! and the beat goes on.... grin.gif

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  • Posts

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