Ah, the West Coast swing. It's a chance for all of us to sit down in the evening and say, more or less to ourselves, "The Twins are only in the third inning? Forget it, I'm not staying up for the end of this."
Schedule (FSN for all games)
Monday: 9:05pm, Brian Duensing vs. Brandon McCarthy
Tuesday: 9:05pm, Cole De Vries vs. Dan Straily
- Wednesday: 2:35pm, Nick Blackburn vs. Tommy Milone
- When this season began, I more or less assumed that either Texas or Anaheim would win the AL West, and the other would win a wild card, and Oakland and Seattle would finish the year a combined 1,746 games out of the playoff spots. Instead, here we are in mid-August and the A's are 64-55 and four games ahead of the Angels (though five back of the Rangers). Oakland is a half-game adrift of Tampa Bay and Baltimore for the wild card spots. They need a sweep against the Twins, quite badly.
- Keep an eye on Tuesday starter Dan Straily. Before this year, Straily had spent a year apiece in Low-A, Regular-A, and High-A ball, and was headed for his first try at Double-A. He ended up making 14 starts at AA, then eight more at Triple-A - striking out 11.4 batters per nine innings in both spots, and compiling a combined 2.60 ERA - before getting his shot at the big time. So far, the 23-year-old righty has made three starts, two of which were quality starts (in which he allowed zero and 1 run).
- Also keep an eye on third baseman Josh Donaldson. Athletics Nation has the whole story, but if you're pressed for time you can skip it because it's exactly the same story as Trevor Plouffe, just a few months later.
- Denard Span hasn't played for an entire week, but the Twins have yet to put him on the disabled list, in what appears to be an attempt to become the first-ever major-league team to add a player to, and activate the same player from, the disabled list in the same transaction. Span injured his shoulder going for a fly ball, and is presumably responding well to the various methods of bloodletting that are usually used by the Twins medical staff in these situations.
- Carl Pavano's velocity is down in his rehab outings. Given where Pavano started, in regards to velocity, one can assume that the pitches are now reaching the catcher on the fourth or fifth hop.
- Matt Capps had another MRI on his shoulder, which isn't healing, and so he must continue "strengthening" rather than throwing. The reliever hasn't thrown a baseball since injuring himself July 17, and had hoped to begin a throwing program last week. On the bright side, he also hasn't given up a hit since July 17.
- P.J. Walters threw three scoreless innings in a rehab start on Sunday, which reminds us all, "Hey, I vaguely remember that P.J. Walters was on the team this year!"