Sometimes you're the Louisville Slugger
Sometimes you're the ball
Sometimes it all comes together
Sometimes you're gonna lose it all
Mary Chapin Carpenter, "The Bug"
I'm just glad it's over. It's like Mike Tyson (the 1990 version, not the The Hangover version) beating the absolute snot out of a six-year old. That's what this weekend has felt like. The Angels absolutely destroyed the Twins, demolished their pitching with what appeared to be little to no effort, and walk away from the series having out-scored Minnesota 35 - 15. Under normal circumstances, scoring 15 runs in three games means you don't get swept.
You never want to hand down an ultimate judgment based on one game or one series, because baseball is full of such ups and downs that making that kind of judgment is always inaccurate. But you can still say this, because the proof has been there all season: the Twins lack pitching. Starters and relievers alike have struggled to find any sort of consistency on the mound, and even with the offensive surge we're seeing from many players this summer it doesn't matter. Fantastic performances from Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, Jason Kubel, and even supporting characters like Denard Span, Michael Cuddyer and Joe Crede, are all being wasted.
These last three games were nothing short of an embarassment. The sweep kicks the Twins back under .500, just after a sweep of the White Sox (and a four-game winning streak) had put a positve spin on the future. It's a hard season to be a Twins fan.
As for the Angels, it's hard to say enough good things about them. They're not missing their two biggest hitters, Vladimir Guerrero or Torii Hunter, thanks to performances from guys up and down the lineup and off the bench. Kendry Morales has turned into an absolute stud, which is what the Angels had been waiting for after watching him hit .337/.393/.546 line in the minor leagues. Chone Figgins continues to be a dramatic and effective top of the order hitter. Erick Aybar is having a career year, making good on some decent minor league numbers. Juan Rivera is finally having another great season, his first since '06. And of course there's Bobby Abreu, who's simply a great hitter.
With an offense like that it's easy to overcome any deficiencies with the pitching staff, but in spite of down seasons by some of their hurlers there's still a lot of talent there. Jered Weaver can clearly be one of their better starters, and Ervin Santana can be effective when he's healthy. Joe Saunders is more than capable of pitching better than he has, and no matter how much of an idiot John Lackey looks like, he's actually a pretty good pitcher, too.
Right now, if I had to pick a team that would be going to the World Series from the American League, it'd have to be the Angels. Sure, the Red Sox and Yankees could pull it off, but I still find it hard to cheer for teams like that. And after the absolute shelacking we were on the end of at the hands of the Angels, I think it's a fair assessment.
Stars of the Game
#3: Joe Mauer (2-for-4, 2B, RBI, .028 WPA, nearly hit a home run)
#2: Orlando Cabrera (1-for-3, HR, RBI, R, BB, .053 WPA)
#1: Denard Span (0-for-3, BB, SB, .046 WPA, superb home run robbing catch)
I'm Glad This Series Is Over Because of...
#1: Glen Perkins (4+ IP, 12 H, 2 HR, 8 R, 2 K, BB, -.433 WPA)
#2: Jose Mijares (1 IP, 2 H, HR, 2 R, K, BB, -.011 WPA, allowed three runs off that homer)
#3: Carlos Gomez (0-for-3, 3 K, -.043 WPA)