Twins season ending; Packers beginning

The Twins season is soon over and appears headed the way most people predicted — somewhere close to 90 loses. The bottom line is this — the Twins either need to acquire or develop good starting pitching. The Twins have never had a habit of picking up big names in the free agent market, so that leaves one possibility. It is critical that they develop starters. Not sure that’s in the cards to help them next season.

Menawhile, football season is ready to begin. Thank goodness the Packers have Aaron Rogers, because they have done nothing to address the two glaring weaknesses last year — the offensive line and defense. Apparently the packer theory is that the same guys who couldn’t get the job done last year will be much better this year. Meanwhile, Rogers will be running for his life — he was the most sacked QB last year. Thank goodness he’s good enough to make some plays under extreme pressure!

Some early season hope for Twins

The Twins are off to a decent start of the 2013 season. If there is reason for hope, it has to be the performance of the starting pitchers. In Spring Training, it appeared that all the starters were struggling. When opening day came, the starters have performed quite well. The three picked up during the off-season (Vance Worley, Mike Pelfrey and Kevin Correia) all have pitched well. For the most part, the bullpen looks pretty good also.

The season’s still young, but if the pitching holds on the Twins may have soemthing to say about the Central Division race. As far as position players go, the big early question mark is Aaron Hicks — he’s off to a rough start. With the exception of Hicks, the first six or seven hitters look good — we’ll see. At least there is a glimmer of hope!

Super Bowl is Feb. 3

Considering how poorly the Packers played in their loss to the 49ers, Packer fans  better hope San Francisco continues to win — it will make the Packers look a bit better, knowing they lost to the NFL’s best.

Not sure who will win the Super Bowl. I am leaning toward the 49ers, but Baltimore has come on strong in the playoffs. It’s no easy task to go into Foxborough and beat the Patriots. Interestingly, both road teams won the conference championship round. I suspect that does not happen too often.

The media, of course, is playing up the coach story with brothers Jim and John Harbaugh going head-to-head in the Super Bowl. I like the 49ers, but I still have reservations about a starting quarterback (Colin Kaepernick) with only 9 starts going in to a Super Bowl against a tough defense.

I’ll give the 49ers the edge, but may regret it!

49ers, 23 – Ravens, 20

Can Packers continue forward?

Can the Packers defeat the 49ers Saturday night? I think they have a pretty good chance. They lost to the 49ers early in the year, so the Packers won’t take them lightly. The 49ers have essentially a rookie quarterback in his first playoff game and the Packers are about as healthy as they’ve been all season. Should be an exciting game.

Packers following Twins example

The Twins finished the season with a thud. Now that they have fired several coaches, I suspect they will win 100 games next year — and pigs will fly!

Oddly enough, the Twins have a decent line up, but definitely need to find some adequate starting pitching if they hope to become respectable in the next couple of years.

Unfortunately, the Packers have followed the Twins pattern to the basement. The Packers are playing very inconsistent football, can’t come up with the big plays when the need them and still have a very porous defense. Apparently the Packer brass expected the terrible defense of last year to improve without any verteran help.

As of this writing, the Pack is 2-3 and could very well be 2-4 after a game at Houston. The hole is getting bigger each week and the season will soon be half over. Don’t know how the Vikings continue to win with smoke and mirrors, but I suspect that reality will set in sometime in the next few weeks.

 

End of the line for 2012 Twins

The Twins still had a chance to make some noise this year. All they had to do was put together a good string after the All-Star break. With the expanded wild card system this season, the Twins still had a chance.

You don’t catch anyone’s attention, however, by losing three straight home games to Oakland. I went to the game Sunday and it was a pretty weak attempt to impress the fans. Not only was it a hot afternoon, but the Twins were behind 6-1 in the second inning — I was going to say they were behind 6-1 before most fans were settled, but the top of first inning took about 40 minutes as Twins starter Brian Duensing served up 41 pitches (about half a games worth). Everybody was “painfully” settled.

Oddly enought, the marathon first inning resulted in just two Oakland runs, but Duensing gave up four runs in the top of the second, including three homeruns against the supposedly weak-hitting A’s. My son always talks about the Twins complaining about their inability to hit home runs at Target Field. As he says, “The opponents don’t seem to have any trouble.”

It is now obvious that the Twins will be sellers as we approach the trading deadline. Plenty of names come up in the trade talks (Span, Liriano, Capps, Willingham, Pavano to name a few). I hope, however, that they hang on to Willingham. If they get some decent pitching prospects and get some guys back next year (like Scott Baker), maybe Willingham can help the team score some runs.

 

Twins struggles continue

The Twins often appear to be on the verge of putting together a winning streak, but it always falls apart. They win two or three, but then lose two or three.

I went to the game Tuesday night. They had defeated the White Sox Monday night to move within 7.5 games of first place (this, despite the horrible start and still poor record) On Tuesday I’m thinking they can move to within 6.5 games, and maybe 5.5 if they sweep the series. Instead, they lost both Tuesday and Wednesday to drop to 9.5 out of first.

Of course, the Twins inconsistencies continue to plague them. And, it’s not just pitching — the Twins have a tough time getting timely hits. They had many opportunities to win Tuesday’s game. Liam Hendricks actually pitched a good game, but the Twinbs scored only 2 runs — you won’t win many games scoring only 2 runs.

The idea of playing .500 baseball by the All Star break has vanished. We’ll see if the Twins are “buyers” or “sellers” when the trading deadline nears. Most people are betting on “sellers.”

.500 by the All-Star break?

After a horrible start, the Twins are now at least playing respectable baseball. They have a long way to go, however, to be taken too seriously. Of course, the Twins radio/TV announcers are hinting that they could be at .500 by the All-Star break. I find that a bit hard to believe.

The Twins are better than their early-season record, but not good enough to put together a long winning streak, or something similar to a 13 out of 15 streak. I suspect they could play close to .500 ball for the rest of the season, but that would leave them well short of overcoming the early season misery and getting to .500 for the year.

Tough start — win over Yankees helps

After 10 games, the Twins have demonstrated that there are plenty of questions about the 2012 season. Hitting still seems to be an issue — not enough timely hits. Pitching has been spotty, but no one expects the staff to give up just a run or two a game. The Twins have to score at least four or five runs in most games if they expect to win.

The good news — they opened in New York with a win Monday night, maybe it will be the catalyst to turn things in the right direction during this tough road trip.

After watching the 2012 Twins open the season at Baltimore last weekend, I have come to the following conclusions:

–The 2012 Twins look remarkably similar to the 2011 Twins — at least in the early going. They still have no hitting threats, still are inconsistent on the mound and in the field. My son and I often talk about how Twins hitters make very average pitchers look like Cy Young. It happened again in all three games at Baltimore and was capped on Sunday when the Orioles Jason Hamel took a no-hitter into the eighth inning.

On the hitting side, have you ever seen so many weak ground balls and popups? It has to get better. I thought early on that pitching was a bigger concern than hitting.

–The Twins will be challenged to come out of April with any sort of positive flow. The Twins next 16 games inlcude: Angels (3), Rangers (3), Yankees (4), Rays (3) and Red Sox (3) . That’s a tough schedule for a team that’s playing well! But, unless the Twins get the bats going and the pitching in a groove, every game will look tough on paper!