Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Can Justin Morneau win the Triple Crown?

For today's question I thought I would go with a question that sounds farfetched but it really is not so read through it and leave your comments on the site or email me at

1. Can Justin Morneau win the American League Triple Crown?

  • Argument for Justin Morneau winning the American League Triple Crown: Justin Mourneau has been awesome this season. He is hitting .347 which is good enough for 5th best in the American League. Miguel Cabrera is leading at .377 which is not that big of a difference because I guarantee you Miguel Cabrera is not going to hit .377 so if Morneau can hit .330 he will have a good shot to win the batting title. The biggest competition is if teammate Joe Mauer can get enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting title. The next stat is homeruns where Morneau has 14 homeruns right now which makes him tied for second with Mark Teixeira 2 homeruns behind leader Carlos Pena. Pena is not going to keep this going and Teixeira is not a 40 homerun hitter so if Justin can hit 35-38 he has a real shot at winning the homerun title. The easiest one for him to win is the rbi title. Right now Morneau has 44 rbi's which ranks him 3rd 3 behind Jason Bay and 5 behind leader Evan Longoria. I think that is the most realistic title for him because through the years Justin Morneau has been a rbi machine and this pace is nothing new for him. The biggest reason he has a shot at the triple crown is Denard Span and Joe Mauer. They always get on and as long as that continues there will be rbi opprotunities, also will see better pitches with men on base which will help his average and homerun totals. I know its early but he has a real chance at this.

  • Argument for Justin Morneau not winning the Triple Crown: Honestly, the odds are pretty deep against him winning the triple crown. He is not leading any of the categories and it is very very early. Another thing Morneau's career high in batting average for a season is .321 and that is far from a sure thing to win a batting title with a .321 average. Another thing Morneau's swing has changed through the years he goes the other way a lot more than he used to. He also plays in a pitcher's park. It is nothing like Petco Park but it is not as good as Fenway or Yankee Stadium where balls just jump out of. The Metrodome plays more for the pitcher than the hitter. Finally, He is a gap hitter who hits alot of doubles so it would be hard for him to hit the 40+ homeruns it would take to win the homerun title. Overall, there is not much chance he can win the triple crown.

  • My take: Honestly, Justin Morneau realistically probably does not have a very good chance to win the triple crown. However, He is probably the best 1st baseman in the league and he keeps getting better as a hitter. Every time he comes up there is a chance he is going to go yard. I believe he will probably win his 2nd rbi title in 4 years, but I don't think he is gong to quite win the batting title or the homerun title. I look for him to hit between 30-35 homeruns and bat about .325 which won't be quite good enough to win those titles. The thing about Morneau is that would be an unbelievable season being that noone has hit for the triple crown since Carl Yastrzemski did it in 1967 which is 42 years ago which shows how tough it is to do. It should be an interesting summer to see if Mourneau can keep it up and challenge the immortals of the game.

Wednesday, May, 27th

Twins Talk

  • The Twins finally got a win against the Red Sox after losing the last 7 games to them going back to last season. The Twins got a good outing by Nick Blackburn and a 5 run bottom of the 5th inning and made it stand up for a 5-2 win over the Red Sox. Coupled with a Detroit loss the Twins are back within 3.5 games of first. The story of the game though was Nick Blackburn who continues his strong string of outings. In his last 4 starts he is 1-1 with a 3.60 era, however he has been the most consistant pitcher on the Twins staff. People are always trying to get rid of him but at the end of the day he always finds a way to get hitters out. With the win Blackie is now 4-2 with a very good 3.55 era on the season. In this outing it did not appear he had a good sinker with alot of flyballs but he did what all good pitchers do and that is make adjustments when one thing is not working you find another way to get hitters out. For Blackburn he used more changeups to keep the Boston lineup off balance. I really think that some of our other pitchers could take a page out of Blackburn's book when something is not working and try something else to see if that will work better because it seems like Blackburn is always around in the 7th inning and gives the Twins a chance to win every time out and thats all you can ask for.

  • The Twins put all their offense in one inning to get to Boston starter Jon Lester for 5 runs in the 5th. Justin Mourneau finished the rally with a 3 run shot that turned a 2-1 Twins lead into a 5-1 Twins lead. The thing about that shot that I couldn't believe was how hard it was hit. Seriously im surprised that one of the football seats in right field was not broke because it was hit that hard. Speaking of Mourneau he really is on fire getting 2 more hits to raise his average to .347 on the season. In May he is hitting an unbeliveable .375 with 9 hr and 26 rbi's which is out of this world. Put him together with Mauer and they have combined for 20 hr and 57 rbi's in the month of May which is totally unbelievable. Last nights homerun was Mourneau's 14th of the year which is tied for 2nd and he has 44 rbi's which is 3rd most in the American League. However, what should not be overlooked is how Matt Tolbert hustled out an infield single and how Nick Punto hustled to second on his base hit. You can say all you want about how Punto and Tolbert aren't hitting, but what you are going to get out of those 2 is absolute hustle and that is all you can ask for. Granted we all wish they were hitting better, but the old saying is true that hustle is slump proof and if you allways hustle you are still helping the team.
  • Tonight, the Twins continue their series with the Red Sox at the Dome with Kevin Slowey trying to pick up his 7th win of the year as he is facing Daisuke Matsuzaka.

Rochester Wrap

  • The Red Wings have continued to battle and it finally paid off in a win as they defeated Durham 5-2 last night. Kevin Mulvey continues to impress for the Red Wings as he put together another quality start for Rochester. Mulvey went 7 strong innings and only gave up 2 runs on 6 hits along with a walk and a very impressive 6 strikeouts. With the 2 runs allowed he lowered his era down to 3.75 on the season. Mulvey seems to be getting better every start and that is all you can ask for. He has 2 quality starts in a row after going through a little rough patch earlier this month, but he seems to have worked through that and pitching like everyone knows he can. I think he is a very solid pitcher who you know what he is going to bring to the table and someone that is very much in the Twins future plans. He is the guy that people are forgetting in the Santana trade. He won't be a superstar but he will bring quality just about every start. He reminds me very much of a young Kevin Tapani another control pitcher the Twins got from the Mets and he turned out ok. Mike Gosling came in relief to pick up his unbeliveable 6th win of the season out of the pen. That is a very high number for a reliever so hopefully he can keep it up.

  • The Wings offense continue to struggle right now as they were only able to muster 6 hits against good Durham pitching. They were bailed out by the long ball once again. Trevor Plouffe put the Wings on the board with a 2 run shot in 4th inning to tie the game at 2. The homer was Plouffe's 4th of the year and led to the biggest play of the game. With 2 runners on and 2 outs David Winfree came to the plate and drilled a homerun over the left field fence to put the Wings ahead for good. It was Winfree's 7th homerun of the year and continued his reputation that he is getting this year of being very clutch. Half his homeruns have put the Wings either tied or into the lead and every team needs a player like that when you need a homerun they always find a way to get it done and that is what Winfree is for the Wings. Winfree had another hit earlier in the game also to raise his average up to .257. Winfree's 3 rbi's brought his total up to 23 on the season.
  • Tonight, the Red Wings continue their series with Durham in Rochester with Reid Santos scheduled to get the start for Rochester.

New Britain Business

  • Honestly, last night is a game the Rockcats would just soon forget even happened because it was not pretty. Ryan Mullins got rocked and the relief pitchers were not much better as the Rockcats went down to Trenton 11-0 and really the game was not even that close. Ryan Mullins got the start and to say he was bad is an understatement. Look at this line 4.2 innings 13 hits 6 runs 4 earned runs 2 walks and 4 strikeouts. Granted the Rockcats did not help him out with 2 errors that led to 2 unearned runs, but the bottom line is Mullins was awful. The thing about it is Mullins had been much better in May and 1 bad start should not change your view on him. Granted he is not a huge prospect for the Twins but he has pitched very good as of late and you should not change your opinion of him after this start any more than you did after his good outings. Zack Ward came in relief and was absolutely awful once again. In 2.1 innings Ward gave up 3 runs to bring his era up to a very bad 7.54 on the season. To put this in context his era in May is 13.50. Zack Ward is one guy I am having trouble putting my finger on why he is having all the problems because for most of last season he was one of the most consistant pitchers in the Rockcats bullpen last year. I am starting to wonder if maybe they should release Ward because he is 25 years old so a demotion to Fort Myers would not help him and he can't get anyone out at AA. Yohan Pino came in relief and gave up 2 runs in 2 innings to get this ugly game over.

  • The Rockcat hitters really left the bats at home in this one as they were only able to muster 5 hits in this one. You have to give credit to Trenton starter Zach Mccalister who really shut down a Rockcats offense that had been running on all cylinders. The only hitter that really did anything against Mccalister was Matt Moses who went 2-3 at the plate. With the 2 hits it brought his average up to .264 on the season. In limited playing time Moses has done a good job in the situations that he is put into. Brandon Roberts, Danny Valencia, and Whit Robbins contributed 1 hit apiece to the Rockcats attack
  • Tonight, the Rockcats try to get back on track as they continue their series with Trenton with staff ace Cole Devries going for New Britain in this game.

Fort Myers Minutes

  • The Miracle saw their 5 game winning streak came to an end last night in a rain shortened game against Tampa 3-1 in 7 innings. Knowing that rain was coming they tried to get as much of the game in as possible and it is a surpise they even got 7 innings in. I really don't think it is fair to end a game because of rain you never know if you can get a big inning to win the game. I would much rather see teams suspend games especially if you are going to face the same team the next day. Tyler Robertson got the start for the Miracle and was once again decent but not great. Robertson went 6 innings and gave up 3 runs on 9 hits along with 2 walks and 3 strikeouts. I maybe being too hard on him but I believe he has much better stuff than that and should be dominating this league in his 2nd season there. I was really expecting him to get the call to AA this year, but I am now expecting Robertson to spend the whole season in the FSL and possibly starting next season in the FSL. He has the stuff to take off and be the pitcher we all knw he can be he just needs to do it. Kyle Waldrop came in relief and pitched a scoreless 7th inning before the rains came. Waldrop is another one I think is ready for AA, however I look for when Gutierrez gets called up to AA Waldrop will take his spot in the rotation to build up his arm strength and eventually join him in AA as a starter.

  • The Miracle were another team that left their hitting shoes at home as they were only able to muster 4 hits against Tampa starter Lance Pendelton. Ben Revere led the Miracle offense as he picked up a hit along with his 19th stolen base of the year. With the hit Revere's average is still a very good .335 on the season. Evan Bigley, Chris Cates, and Allan De San Miguel also contributed a hit each for the Miracle. Deibinson Romero continued his slump by going 0-3 to drop his batting average down to .207 on the year. Romero was hitting .269 just a few weeks ago. Look at his May stats he is 13-80 a .163 average, but if you look deeper in his last 10 games he is 1-36. I really look for him to come out of this he is too good of a hitter for this but they need to do something to shake him out of this slump because he can't have much confidence right now when you get out every time you come up. I really believe though that Romero will rebound he is too good.
  • Tonight, the Miracle continue their series with Tampa with Mike Mccardell getting the start for Fort Myers.

Beloit Beat

  • The Snappers are really in a free fall as they can't beat anybody right now as they are 3-7 in their last 10 games would attest too. Last night they lost a tough pitchers duel to South Bend 4-1 in only 8 innings because of rain. Dan Berlind was once again effective for the Snappers and has been one of their most constistant starters this year. Berlind went 5 strong innings and gave up 2 earned runs on 5 hits along with 4 walks and 7 strikeouts. The 4 walks were too many but the 7 strikeouts were very good. With the 2 earned runs allowed Berlind's era is down to a very respectable 3.67 on the season. Bruce Pugh came in relief and pitched 2 innings and only gave up a run which was not bad. After the outing Pugh's era is 4.24 on the season. Blake Martin finished the game with 2/3 of an inning to get out of the 8th inning for the Snappers. It was a step forward for Martin who has struggled since coming off the DL so hopefully this will get him going.

  • James Beresford led the Snappers attack last night going 2-4 at the plate to bring his average up to a very good .308 on the season. Beresford since coming off the DL has been one of Beloits best hitters and has seen his average slowly go up as the season goes on. Nate Hansen, Jon Waltenbury, Ozzie Lewis, and Drew Thompson also contributed a hit on a night that the Snappers were only able to muster 6 hits in 8 innings. Angel Morales went 0-3 to lower his average down to .218 on the year, which disappoints me because I really was expecting alot more out of Morales after the season he had last year at E-town. Its still very early but I would like Morales to get up to atleast .260-.270 before the end of the season.
  • Tonight, the Snappers continue their series with South Bend with Dan Osterbrock scheduled to pitch for Beloit tonight.