I don't know if you've noticed, but it's August 17, and the Twins have won just four games in August. Four. After taking just two games on a six-game homestand with two of the worst three teams in the American League, tonight's game does sort of feel like the first game of a new season. The Twins are now more spoiler than contender, and more about Opening Day 2010 than October 2009.
Texas, on the other hand, is all about the now. The Rangers haven't made the playoffs in ten years, finishing last or second-to-last in the AL West nine times in that span, but they're in the post-season picture now, as they took two out of three at home with Boston over the weekend to vault into the AL Wild-Card lead.
Opposite directions, then - or are the Twins ready to turn around and ruin the Rangers' party?
|2009 - Francisco Liriano||5-11||22||22||0||0||0||0||125.1||130||80||75||19||56||114||5.39||1.48|
Everyone climb aboard the Liriano roller-coaster. Please keep your hands and feet inside the ride at all times.
Last time out, "Frankie" shut down Kansas City for seven innings, giving up just one run. But the time before that he only managed five innings (and four runs) against Cleveland. And I hardly need to tell you about all the times before that. So, no predictions about which Liriano we'll see tonight, and no matter what he does, there's no point in discussing What It All Means, because anything good or bad he manages to do tonight will be vanished and gone by the time he makes his next start.
|2009 - Tommy Hunter||5-2||9||9||0||0||0||0||55.2||46||16||14||4||17||35||2.26||1.13|
I don't know about you, but when I heard the name "Tommy Hunter," without ever having seen him, I could picture what he looked like. With a name like that, you knew that this had to be a young kid (he just turned 23), who looks like he could have played offensive line for the Longhorns (he's 6'3", 255 lbs), and can put some fire on the ball (his fastball averages the 90-92 range, and can touch 93-94). He'll mix in all four pitches regularly, though - and last time out, he shut out Cleveland for 7.2 innings, which puts him well above several Twins pitchers we could name.
08/17/09 8:05 PM EDT
|Minnesota Twins||Texas Rangers|
|Denard Span - CF||Ian Kinsler - 2B|
|Brendan Harris - SS||Michael Young - 3B|
|Joe Mauer - C||Josh Hamilton - RF|
|Justin Morneau - 1B||Marlon Byrd - CF|
|Jason Kubel - DH||David Murphy - LF|
|Michael Cuddyer - RF||Andruw Jones - DH|
|Joe Crede - 3B||Hank Blalock - 1B|
|Delmon Young - LF||Kevin Richardson - C|
|Nick Punto - 2B||Elvis Andrus - SS|