Posted at 4:51 PM on June 13, 2006
by David Zingler
Watching the starting pitching implode, Rondell White hit .190 and Tony Batista play defense has caused Prozac prescriptions to triple in "Twins Territory", so here are 5 things to feel good about....
1. The M&M boys are coming into their own.
Joe Mauer, with his .386/.448/.538 batting line, will make two trips to Pittsburgh this season, while Justin Morneau is on pace for a 30+ homer, 100+ RBI season.
As Mauer has steadily progressed, the ride hasnít been so smooth for his Canadian counterpart. Morneau seems to have turned the corner however, as his average has been on a steady climb from .202 on May 6 to .255 today.
2. Francisco Liriano
Thrown into the starting rotation as much by necessity as promise, Lirianoís emergence has been the most exciting development of this often frustrating season. With a 5-1 record and 2.10 ERA thus far, the big Dominican should contend for Rookie of the Year this season and possibly a Cy Young in years to come.
3. Radke will not eat up an inordinate amount of the teamís payroll after this year.
Brad Radke will always have a special place in our hearts for sticking it out all of those lean years and helping pitch the franchise back into prominence, but his production in recent years has gone from a touch better than mediocre to awful this season. Enjoy retirement with your millions of dollars and ex-cheerleader wife, Brad -- youíve earned it!! (I guess.)
4. Kubel is healthy and ready to contribute.
Jason Kubelís devastating knee injury in the Arizona Fall League following the 2004 season was a major blow to an organization that heavily relies on young, cheap, homegrown talent.
After missing all of 2005, the 24-year-old minor league superstar proved healthy enough to crack the opening day roster this spring, but floundered in limited playing time early on and ended up at Rochester. Now heís back and is showing glimpses of his potential. Kubel definitely a player to keep an eye on this year.
5. Rincon is rare bright spot in bullpen.
Admit it, when Juan Rincon was suspended for steroid use last year, you wondered if his stellar numbers were an aberration. Wonder no more.
In in team leading 29 appearances, the right-hander has posted a sterling 1.71 ERA along with a 2-0 record, 8 holds and 1 save. Letís hope he gets some well deserved All Star consideration.