So I had this whole write up done for how the Twins suck and all that. But I wrote it during the 7th inning of the game yesterday, and one swing of Jason Kubel's ample bat off Mr. Sandman erased all the bad feelings about this weekend. We can now ignore Gardy's retarded use of Guerrier against A-Rod, Jesse Crain's inability to get anybody out (still), the fact that two of the spots in the lineup are going to be used by a combo of Brendan Harris, Nick Punto, Alexi Casilla, and Matt Tolbert, and the fact that the team is suddenly unable to get a big hit (save the Kubel slam). But none of that matters, because the Twins went 1-2 in New York. World Series, here we come.
WHO WAS AWESOME
1. Stephen Strasburg. Good lord, would you jerks just call this kid up to the bigs already? After tossing 6-innings of 1-hit ball at AAA this week, he now has an ERA of 1.06 and a WHIP of 0.65 in his 7 minor league starts between AAA and AA. He's faced a total of 125 batters, allowing just 22 to reach base on 14 hits and 8 walks, while striking out 40. He's whiffed 3 batters for each one who gets a hit. He's given up fewer hits than Jesse Crain in almost double the innings. He has nothing left to prove in the minors, they're just keeping him down to try to save money down the line by keeping his service clock off, but at this point it's embarrassing. They're just wasting his innings right now. Although mark my words, if the Nationals stay in contention they won't make a trade around the deadline, they'll use the classic Twins line, "Calling him up is as good as a trade." Classic Twins.
2. Mike Leake. Is it repetitive to put Leake in here week after week? Maybe. But do you know what else is repetitive? His ability to get people out. Again and again and again and again and again. They seemingly keep him on a pitch count of right around 100, which is good for the rest of the league because nobody can hit this guy. After a 6-inning, 4 hit, 2 run performance on Friday, he's now sitting at 4-0 with a 3.09 ERA, and he's just consistent as hell. In his 7 career starts (all this year), he's never last less than 6 innings, never given up more than 8 hits, and has only given up more than 3 runs once. And let's not forget this is a rookie who never played in the minors, just jumped straight to the Reds this year after being drafted last year. He doesn't strike out a ton of guys so I don't know that he'll ever reach "superstar" status, but he will certainly be a star, and maybe already is.
3. Shane Victorino. Thrust into the leadoff role for the Phils with Jimmy Rollins on the shelf, Victorino got off to a rough start this year. And then we traded for him in fantasy. And he is just destroying the ball. In his five games this week, he had multiple hits in four of them. And not just multiple hits, but a ton of extra bases as well. In his 10-23 week, he picked up a double, a home run, and three triples and also walked three times. He's always been a speed guy, thus the "Flyin' Hawaiian" nickname, but he's slugging the ball at an impressive .519 clip so far this year, which would be a career high, and already has 8 home runs against a career best of 14. Perhaps a new nickname is in order. This is where I'd put my suggestion but I can't come up with anything clever.
4. Adam Scott. Welcome back Mr. Scott. After being one of the best young golfers on the tour a few years ago, to the point where he was known as the best golfer who hadn't won a major, a surfing accident (shark attack?) completely derailed him like that train from the Fugitive. It got so bad at one point, that last season he missed the cut in 10 of his last 16 tournaments, and it was almost looking like he was basically done and might be heading towards David Duval land. He had been looking better this year, making 6 of 8 cuts, and finally broke back through with a win at the Texas Open this weekend. It wasn't exactly a top field, but there were enough good players there that this should be looked at as a huge positive step for Scott. And between him and Aaron Baddeley finishing in third, it was quite the weekend for washed up young golfers.
5. Young Pitchers. Too many to name individually (not counting Leake, who is just a straight pimp). Mat Latos tossed a one-hitter for the Padres. So did Johnny Cueto for the Reds. And speaking of Reds, the day after Cueto's gem Homer Bailey went the distance for a shut out. Ricky Romero threw a complete game shutout, striking out 12, while Tommy Hanson struck out 10 in 7 innings. Phil Hughes won his fifth game, as did David Price. And someone named John Ely pitched a gem for the Dodgers in just his third major league start. I don't know if it's a great era for young arms or just a weird week, but I've definitely noticed the youngsters this week. You probably have too, perv.
1. LeBron. I'm not going to belabour the obvious here when you can read 26,500 articles just by searching google for "LeBron James lackluster", but that was brutal. Unless his elbow is far worse than anybody thinks, this was a shocking lack of effort and focus by someone who is thought as possibly the best player in the league. On the other hand, he's only 25 (for real, I looked it up) and 25 years are prone to petulance. I'm going to go ahead and not write him off just yet. Seriously, if he wants to sign with the Wolves, I'm on board. Smart money says the Nets, though. Book it.
2. Rich Harden. Rich Harden is from Canada. British Columbia, to be exact, the same province that gave us Kristin Kreuk (pictured), Jason Priestley, and Bryan Adams. So you'd think that when he gets to pitch in his home country, like when he goes to Toronto, he'd be all amped up and be lights out. Well, he might get amped up, but he sure as hell can't pitch for crap up in the great white north, and Friday's 2.2 inning, 4 hit, 6 walk, 7 run disaster in what has clearly become a trend at this point. His other two career starts in Canada were nearly as bad. In 2004, he went just 4 and 1/3 innings, giving up 7 hits and 7 runs, and in 2005 he gave up 5 hits and 6 walks in five innings, but escaped allowing just four runs. So that means in his career his ERA is 13.50 in Canada. Since Minnesota is basically Canada without the monopoly money and bigger fish, I'd say it's a good thing the Twins didn't sign him.
3. Jason Bartlett. Hey do you remember when Bartlett was thrown into the Delmon Young/Matt Garza trade and the only people who cared were the ladies who got all hot every time they looked at him because it looked like he was just going to be a mediocre shortstop? And then remember last year when he hit .320 and stole 30 bases and showed some power and everyone was all angsty about how the team could let him go and blah blah blah? Well, spaz, you can relax because he sucks again. After going 3-23 this week, he's now hitting .236 on the year and isn't bothering to slug the ball even a little bit. So it looks like the Twins got the better of the Harris/Bartlett part of that deal. Suck it, Rays.
4. Former Texas Open Winners. Zach Johnson and Justin Leonard had combined to win the last 3 Texas Opens. Back then it was played at La Cantera. This year, they moved it to TPC San Antonio, and these two clowns apparently couldn't handle the long course, because they both missed the cut spectacularly. Johnson fired an 80 in the first round that he couldn't recover from, which included a truly stunning six-putt after putting the ball on the green off the tee in one on 13, including three misses inside of three feet. Justin Leonard wasn't quite as bad, but he also shit the bed in the opening round, posting a 76, and wasn't able to recover, which including a triple bogey after doinking his drive into the wilderness. Excellent work, guys.
5. B.J. Upton. Remember two years ago when I predicted Upton would be the MVP? And remember this year, when I insisted that last year was just a down year and he'd be back and knocking the cover off the ball and all that? Well it turns out I'm an idiot, because Upton just keeps sucking and sucking and is suddenly in danger of being benched. He had a nice couple of games over the weekend after word came out that he was close to hitting the pine, including two doubles yesterday, but that still put him at just 4-18 for the week, and he's hitting just .119 in May and .225 for the year. He has also lost his power, not having homered since April 19th, and isn't walking anymore either. Last year he still had value even if he wasn't hitting because he would at least walk, so now that he's not hitting or walking, he's essentially worthless. Let's just say it's pretty easy to decide who to bench to put Kubel back in the lineup.
Because Kubel is back, folks. Hold on to your butts.