Monday, September 7, 2009

Seven out and sinking

The Twins tragic number — the total of Minnesota losses and Detroit wins needed to eliminate the Twins from the AL Central title — as of Monday morning: 20.


A couple of items worthy of comment:

*Ron Gardenhire, at least for public consumption, has been critical of Jose Morales' receiving skills. But the manager did have something good to say about his pitch calling.

The Twins catching hierarchy is fairly obvious: Joe Mauer catches as many games as he can. If the Twins are carrying two catchers, Mike Redmond is the wise choice as the number 2 guy because A) he has an extensive track record that says he can handle the job and B) the Twins can't send him to the minors without exposing his to waivers. Jose Morales has options, so the Twins could (and did) demote him while retaining him.

But it is becoming increasingly certain that Morales is now a better player than Redmond. With September's wins and losses becoming meaningless in terms of making the playoffs, Gardenhire is likely to continue to uphold the fiction that Redmond's the No. 2 and Morales the No 3, but the reality is the reality.

* Glen Perkins apparently won't be recalled this month. Leaving him in the minors is likely to cost him arbitration eligibility, which has led to talk of him filing a grievance.

Perkins has an ERA this season of 5.89 and an career ERA of 4.93. He's been on the disabled list twice, this after a 2007 that saw him spend most of the season idle with a shoulder injury that supposedly would take a couple of weeks to heal.

Perkins' major league future may now hinge less on his potential than on his price tag. He has a real chance of pricing himself out of the game. Pushing for super two status would be a mistake.

* Jesse Crain has shaved 2.33 runs off his ERA since returning from the minor leagues in late July. It's still an ugly ERA — 5.82 — but he's re-establishing himself as a relief option.

Which would give the Twins four usable arms in front of Joe Nathan: Matt Guerrier, Jose Mijares, Jon Rauch and Crain. If Pat Nesheck can come back next year, they figure to have real depth in the pen in 2010 for the first time since the 2006 season.

If they hadn't bungled the Craig Breslow situation this spring ...

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