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8/29 Game Thread: Kansas City Royals @ Minnesota Twins

First game of the series, the Twins leading the Sox by 1/2 game in the Wild Card race.  They trail Detroit by 5 games.  Kansas City:  47-85.  Minnesota:  76-53.

Lineups
Kansas City Royals
Name        POS  AB  AVG  HR  RBI  OBP  SLG  VORP
DeJesus      LF 366 .303   7   43 .379 .445  20.7
Grudzielanek 2B 476 .288   7   45 .326 .405  14.6
Teahen       3B 361 .296  17   64 .368 .535  30.7
Sweeney      DH 136 .243   5   20 .348 .412   2.3
Brown        RF 430 .288  12   68 .353 .453  15.1
Shealy       1B 102 .304   3   17 .360 .431   3.6
Buck         C  316 .234   9   41 .292 .373  -6.1
Blanco       SS  49 .286   3   16 .327 .327   0.0
Gathright    CF 298 .221   0   28 .319 .272  -4.1

Minnesota Twins
Name        POS  AB  AVG  HR  RBI  OBP  SLG  VORP
Castillo     2B 486 .294   3   45 .349 .372  17.2
Punto        3B 324 .312   1   36 .390 .414  18.8
Mauer        C  424 .356  10   73 .434 .514  57.6
Cuddyer      RF 429 .277  18   87 .360 .506  26.8
Morneau      1B 464 .319  32  110 .372 .586  45.1
Hunter       CF 425 .273  21   69 .343 .471  20.9
White        DH 254 .217   3   27 .243 .299 -21.1
Tyner        LF 153 .320   0   11 .350 .353   1.0
Bartlett     SS 219 .342   1   22 .410 .447  20.9

Pitchers
Name       IP   W  L   ERA  WHIP   K/9  AVG  VORP
Redman  129.1   7  8  5.85  1.62  3.97 .309  -0.4
Garza    13.2   1  2  6.59  1.68  5.27 .316  -1.7

Keys for Victory

The big thing for the Twins is to keep it rolling.  I'm glad there was an off day yesterday, because is lessened the liklihood of a fallout after the physically and emotionally draining weekend series against the White Sox.  Any team can be decent on any given day, but as long as the Twins aren't looking past the Royals and toward the Yankees, you'd like to think it would be cake to walk away with at least a series victory.

Chicago is taking on the Devil Rays, which is basically a bit of a cookie for them as well.  The Twins may have the lead in the Wild Card race, but it evaporated quickly the last time we had it, and there's a long way to go before Chicago, Boston, or any of the other few teams involved go away.  I hate to say it, BUT...this is a big series.  Not as big as the Chicago series, but big in the sense that Minnesota needs to keep winning.  With, or without starting pitchers.

On the Royals side of things, Teahen has turned his season around drastically.  Here are his monthly numbers on the year; keep in mind he was sent to the minors in May and recalled one month later.

Month    Avg   Obp   Slg
April   .219  .271  .406
May     .077  .077  .077
June    .305  .352  .463
July    .319  .442  .692
August  .342  .397  .586
2006    .296  .368  .535

In addition to Teahen's break-out, Mike Sweeney has returned to the lineup.

Frame    Avg   Obp   Slg
Pre-DL  .176  .313  .309
Post-DL .309  .385  .515

Those post-DL numbers are MUCH more Sweeney-esque.  Just food for thought, and this is probably just the thing that kills Royals fans year-after-year, just like it killed Twins fans in the mid and late 90's, BUT...there's a nice core there.  If Sweeney comes back to Kansas City to DH next year and is healthy, he's still a good hitter.  David DeJesus, Mark Teahen and Ryan Shealy, along with two studs coming up in Alex Gordon and Billy Butler...this could be a dynamic, young offense by the middle of next summer.  Now, about that pitching staff...

Game kicks off in just under an hour.  Go Twins.