Having been out of both internet and cell service areas for over a week, I've missed a lot. So I'll try to catch up.
- It appears the Twins have done well since I've been gone, winning six of their last seven, which is good. Even though Seattle is shitty and Milwaukee is even shittier it still means something that they're beating these shitty teams instead of losing like they were doing for a while. Instead of trying to go over these games, which would be impossible, I want to make two Twins' related points:
1. Aaron Hicks has hit .286 (8/28) in these seven games, and has now raised his season average all the way up to .173 (and yes, all the way is supposed to be sarcastic). His walks are way down compared to earlier in the season (to be fair, his strikeouts are too), but I would guess that's a result of pitchers forcing him to hit and refusing to walk him until he proves he can punish them if they groove it. His 3-4 day with 2 XBH today will certainly help. His season line now stands at .173/.246/.335, which is really pretty awful, but there are plenty of other underachievers, and veterans at that, who are putting up similar numbers at this early stage. B.J. Upton (.153/.236/.252), Jason Heyward (.142/.283/.236), Dustin Ackley (.205/.266/.250), Josh Reddick (.170/.280/.270), and Ben Revere (.251/.293/.287) are all notable names, for one reason or another, who are performing on a similar level. So what I'm saying is, if you've given up on Hicks already you're an idiot. And you probably are anyway and you probably like Big Bang Theory, Olive Garden, and Nickelback.
2. Glen Perkins is having a really good year out of the pen. His two blown saves were gross and he's had a couple poor outings in non-save situations, but overall an ERA of 3.05 (with a FIP of 2.31 which is really, really good) with 14+ Ks per nine and 5 Ks per walk is really, really effing good. I'm hopeful the Twins end up trading him for something good at the deadline because saves are overvalued like a mofo, but that's not what I found fascinating looking at stuff today. What's fascinating is the Perkins, in his 20 innings this year he has more Ks than Kevin Correia in his 70, Mike Pelfrey in 50, or Vance Worley in 48. Also Scott Diamond in his 50, and any other pitcher on the team. Yes, Glen Perkins leads the Twins in strikeouts. And you want to know who is third? Jared Burton. If it weren't so sad it would be hilarious. And sad.
- Man oh man I think the Royals might be cursed or haunted or something. Mike Moustakas was a top 10 prospect in all of baseball a couple of years ago, and this year his stats resemble Aaron Hicks but with no speed and less power coming from a more premium offensive position. Eric Hosmer was the #5 prospect at one point and he's hitting on a level equal to Eduardo Escobar, but with slightly less power which is awful enough but as a 1B it's just horrendous. And that's hardly the only issues they've had. Most of their top pitching prospects have either gotten hurt or flamed out, and the ones who have looked ok are either stuck in the bullpen or got traded (and don't forget, Luke Hochevar was the #1 overall pick in 2006 and after seven years is finally having his first decent year - but as a middle reliever). It's yet another example of "potential" not translating to actual performance, and maybe the most dramatic one outside of this year's Lakers.
- Last year I said that shutting down Stephen Strasburg after 159 innings in a season when you have legitimate World Series hopes was a stupid, stupid move. Throwing away a tangible benefit (having one of the best pitchers in baseball on your side in the playoffs) for some unprovable, perhaps even hypothetical future benefit (Strasburg's future health) rarely works out, and now he ended up leaving his start last Friday after just two innings with an oblique strain. I'm not sure how bad that actually is or if he'll miss any games, but it should help serve as a warning to other teams in similar situations in the future. Play your best when that window is open, because nobody knows how quickly it could shut - just ask the OKC Thunder.
- This was pretty neat:
- After being a pretty big backer of the Pitino hire and the system he's going to be bringing to the Gophers, as time has passed and I've been looking at things more rationally I'm getting more nervous that next year may be a disaster. Let's assume for a minute that Pitino is able to force other teams into a more up-and-down type game than is generally played in the Big 10 (a pretty big assumption, granted, that may actually be the key next year anyway). A more uptempo game results in more possessions, and traditionally the more possessions in a game the more likely the more talented team will in - is that really the position the Gophers want to put themselves in next year? With that mish-mash of a front court? Pitino's goal is something that has rarely been done successfully in the Big 10 with only Ohio State in 2011 finishing above .500 in conference with one of the fastest paced teams (top 100) in the country going back to 2005. That team had elite talent, this Minnesota team doesn't and really has only two players you could call above average. My confidence is wavering, and wavering significantly. I'm now terrified for next year.
And speaking of that mish mash of a front court, the Gophers signed on Drake transfer Joey King, formerly of East View, giving them a Minnesota presence and another bigger body if he gets the waiver he's looking for to make him eligible next year (the ole "move home because of a family situation" waiver). There are a lot of conflicting opinions on King. On the one hand, he was on the MVC All-Freshman team last year after averaging 7 pts and 3 rebs per game, which is decent for freshman and the MVC was a quality league last year (and he played some of his best ball against the best - 17 vs. Creighton, 15 vs. Wichita, and 21 vs. Xavier). The bad news is despite being 6-9 he was just a slightly better rebounder than Joe Coleman (RIP) last season, shot more twos than threes, and only took 20% of his shots at the rim last year which was less than Julian Welch last year.
Basically King is, potentially, a good stretch 4 which is what Pitino is looking for. However, along with Osenieks and Buggs that gives them three of those with only one true post player, meaning that Mo Walker may very well end up being the key to the season. Read that again. Think about it. Digest it for a minute. How does that feel? I feel yucky.
- Oh yeah, Epic was a pretty sweet kids movie. You should go see it and stuff.