Thursday, July 15, 2010

Maybe the Twins Do Not Want 2 Starters in the All-Star Game After All

Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau were elected starters for the 2010 MLB All-Star Game. Mauer was the top vote getter amassing the 3rd highest vote total ever. Only Ken Griffey Jr. in 1994 and Albert Pujols in 2009 have received more votes. Rod Carew is the only other Twin to ever lead the overall voting doing so in 1975, 1977 & 1978.

It is the first time since 1968 that 2 Minnesota Twins were voted All-Star starters. 1968 ironically was not a good year for the Twins. The 68 Twins had high expectations having come within a game of going to the World Series the previous year. Rod Carew and Harmon Killebrew were voted in as All-Star game starters. Killebrew, playing 1st base, promptly injured himself during the game stretching for a throw. He was lost for the season and the Twins promptly tanked.

Well guess what? Morneau received a concussion when he took a knee to the head while sliding into second bas against the Toronto Blue Jays the series before the All-Star break. He missed the All-Star game and could be headed to the disabled list. Let’s us hope the Twins promptly don’t tank like they did in 68.

Things are not looking good right now. Mauer is having one of those years superstars have where they are still better than most players, but are not living up to their own usual high standards. Denard Span, Jason Kubel, Michael Cuddyer, and J.J. Hardy are having sub-par years so far. Pitcher Scott Baker, Nick Blackburn, and Kevin Slowey are being too erratic. The bullpen is showing wear.

Justin Morneau is playing well. Delmon Young has finally emerged as the player the Twins were hoping for. Jim Thome has been a positive addition. Brian Duensing has been very effective out of the bullpen. Francisco Liriano has finally recovered from Tommy John surgery and is pitching for the most part very well. Carl Pavano has been excellent this year

The emergence of Liriano, Young, and Duensing is very encouraging. The nucleus of Mauer, Morneau, Kubel, and Span will be around for awhile and with the addition of these 3 new rising stars, the Twins have 5 everyday players who have All-Star potential, a strong #1 starter and a pitcher capable of starting or relieving with equal effectiveness.

The key for this year is getting Baker, Blackburn, and Slowey back on track. If they don’t get back on track, the Twins are in major trouble. If they do get back on track, we have a chance unlike 1968 the last time 2 Twins were suppose to start an All-Star game.