24. Minnesota Twins – The big question in Minnesota is if Ron Gardenhire will keep his job. It’s unlikely the Twins will show much improvement for another couple of years.
Obviously there are times when instant replay would be beneficial to the game. Roughly a month ago Cleveland was playing a game in Chicago and the Tribe sure could have used some sort of replay system being in place. A sale jerseys hitter hit a deep fly ball and, as the ball headed into the stands, it veered towards the foul pole. The ball clearly landed in foul territory in the stands but the umpire misread where the ball landed. He judged the ball to be fair and called it as such. After the four umpires got together to discuss the play the ball was ruled to be fair and Chicago was awarded with a home run. Three runs scored on the play and the Indians subsequently had no chance of completing a comeback that had begun an inning before.
So this past off season, Williams signed left handed slugger Adam Dunn, formerly of the Nationals. A consistent 40-45 homer a season hitter, its feasible that Dunn could even hit 50 plus homers in homer friendly U. S. Cellular Field. Dunn pairs with Konerko, who hit 39 homers last year, to once again give Chicagos American League team a thunderous middle of the order tandem.
National League Cy Young Award – Roy Halladay, Philadelphia Phillies. Halladay’s competition may very well come from any one of his three teammates in the Phillies starting rotation. Not that I need to defend this pick, but Halladay has had a sub-3.00 ERA the last three years, while winning at least 20 games in two of those seasons. Other than his teammates (Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt, and Cole Hamels), Giants’ Tim Lincecum will be Halladay’s only other threat for the award.
Adam Dunn, Gordon Beckham, Brent Morel or Mark Teahen, and Alex Rios were thought to be the guys that would put the southsiders among the best in the American league.
Lefty Craig Breslow turned in an admirable season in the bullpen, posting five saves in Bailey’s absence. He also notched 16 holds with a 3.01 ERA on the year — while striking out 71 batters in 74 2/3 innings, too.
In addition to losing Crain, the Twins lost Matt Guerrier to the Dodgers, Brian Fuentes to the Athletics, and Jon Rauch to the blue Jays. Additionally, their former all star closer Joe Nathan is coming back after missing all of last season following Tommy John surgery. Also, a week into spring training Twins all star first baseman Justin Morneau had yet to play and there was no time table for his return as he continues to deal with a concussion he suffered mid way through last season. With the subtractions and uncertainty of key Twins, it seems that the Sox have overtaken Minnesota as they, along with the Detroit Tigers, battle for the division.
Seeing as both starters have had relative success against either club, it wouldn’t be surprising to the series decided by the bullpen- which on paper Chicago decidedly has the upper hand.