1. Well that should do it. The Twins won again last night, beating the Sox 9-3, which brings their division lead to 8 games with just 17 left to play. Their magic number is now 10, which essentially means it would take an epic collapse as well as a hell of a run by Chicago to keep the Twins out of the playoffs - something I haven't ruled out. Most impressive last night was Brian Duensing, who wasn't very sharp and that is precisely the reason he was so impressive. Throughout the game he seemed to always be on the verge of giving up the big inning, but kept getting key outs and bid double plays whenever he needed them. It was a very impressive display of "battling" for such a young pitcher with less than twenty career starts. There is no doubt in my mind he needs to be the third starter in any playoff series the Twins are in. When Baker, Slowey, or Blackburn are off, rarely do you see them still manage to go six innings and scatter nine hits the way he did, they generally get killed and don't see the fourth. Behind Mauer, Thome, Valencia, Pavano, and Liriano there's no doubt he's been the most valuable player this year, not only for what he's done since joining the rotation, but his stellar bullpen work earlier this year as well. Finishing sixth as an MVP might not sound that impressive, but did you expect him to be there?
2. How fast did everybody get to the waiver wire? Once again proving that you need to have waivers in your fantasy football league rather than some kind of crazy first-come, first-served style, Ryan Grant was announced to be out for the year on Tuesday, cementing Brandon Jackson as the waiver wire pickup who will win many fantasy leagues for people who drafted like crap. Also setting off a firestorm of whining from every Grant owner who didn't draft Jackson and then had to watch some dork with a bad team scoop him up in front of them when waiver claims were processed, assuring that said owner will be starting someone like Fred Jackson next week. To which I say: You are all nerds. But seriously, anything that hurts the Packers is a friend of mine, which is why Tony Mandarich is still one of my favorite players. The Incredible Bulk or Barry Sanders? Nice decision, Packer-jerks!
3. Mark Ingram is ready to run over your face. Last year's Heisman trophy winner, this year's favorite to win the Heisman, and the guaranteed #1 rookie pick in fantasy football next year was cleared to play after missing the first two weeks of the college season after having knee surgery. I know knee surgery is never something you want, particularly if you're a running back, but he's got an awful nice blend of speed and power, so even if he's 80% he's still going to be better than pretty much everybody, and even at 10% he'd be better than anybody the Gophers have trotted out there since Amir Pinnix left. I haven't decided if he's the next Curtis Martin or the next Ron Dayne at the NFL level, but luckily, I don't have to decide yet. Although I can guarantee you if Dawger gets him in our keeper league, he'll turn into the next Dayne. How's Darren McFadden working out for you, little guy?
4. Hard to believe he could be dirty. I don't believe it either, but it's possible John Calipari and Kentucky cheated in order to get Eric Bledsoe to qualify to attend Kentucky last season. You might remember it was looking iffy that he would get in, and you might also remember his name surfaced earlier this offseason with an investigation into whether or not he and/or his family received money while he was being recruited. This time, the issues arise from his high school transcript which not only shows that, after never receiving higher than a C in his high school career, he received an A or a B in seven of his ten classes senior year, but also that he took Algebra 3 before Algebra 2. And this isn't like taking History of World War II before History of World War I, this would be liking taking a class on spelling before you learned the alphabet. Hard to believe this of Calipari. This reminds me of when I saw Star Wars Episode III and, spoiler alert, suddenly Anakin turns to the dark side at the end. Talk about a shocker!
5. Speaking of dirty coaches, how about the guy in Orange? Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl, noted tattle tail, is now in trouble for lying to the NCAA about possible violations and obviously, those same violations which include phone calls that shouldn't have been made and recruit visits that may have been violations. Right now it sounds like the violations wouldn't be too major, the school is sticking behind Pearl, and he hasn't lost any players or recruits. Which, coincidentally, is how it started for Kelvin Sampson at Indiana when the shit started coming down as well, and we know how that worked out - they still haven't recovered. So is this the end for Bruce Pearl and Tennessee basketball? I don't really care, because this kind of stuff doesn't really bother me, but I think Pearl is kind of a huge douche so seeing him crying at his press conference while he apologized was pretty neat.
6. In case you hadn't noticed, these guys can't lose. Again. The Colorado Rockies, a longshot to make the playoffs not that long ago, have gotten hot in September and suddenly right in the thick of the division race. Yes, again. No, this isn't last year. Or that other year. This is a new thing. They have won 11 of 13, including a 10-game win streak, and are just 2.5 back of San Diego (and 2.5 back of the wildcard). Yes, again. This year. I consider the Rockies my NL club, and with the Twins my AL team, I might as well not even watch the first few months each year. Neither of these teams ever bothers to get going until the last two months anyway. Besides them just being my favorite NL team I want them to win because Rocktober is just plain fun to say.
And I also want to mention that Troy Tulowitzki has hit 11 home runs in his last 13 games because jesus.