Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Keeping some perspective

The Twins haven't won since their Hangover Special — 0-5  on their current road trip. Five games of lousy  starting pitching, anemic offense and sloppy defense.
Nick Blackburn has allowed as many
hits this season as Cliff Lee —but in
about 50 fewer innings.

It's not good, and it's not that important.

History, even recent history, is replete with examples of teams staggering to the finish line of the regular season and still winning the World Series. The Twins in 1987 didn't win a regular season game after clinching the division title; they won the World Series. They finished the 1991 regular season by getting swept at home by playoff opponent Toronto; they turned around to beat the Blue Jays in the ALCS and went to take the Series.

More recently, St. Louis almost played its way out of the 2006 postseason with a dismal September — and wound up winning it all.

To the extent that the pitching has been poor because the rotation has been scrambled to get it into ideal alignment for October, that's something the Twins will live with. To the extent that the lineup is skipping beats because regulars and quasi-regulars such as Joe Mauer, Jim Thome, .J.J. Hardy, Orlando Hudson and  Denard Span are resting aching joints and muscles, that's acceptable also.

I am concerned about Nick Blackburn. He is the weakest link in the playoff rotation, he has a tendency to go from hot steak to cold streak, and he got hammered on Tuesday. That said, he still, on paper, is a better matchup to the Yankees for a start in New York than either Scott Baker or Kevin Slowey.

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