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The Bleacher Bums: July 29, 2007 Archive

Not dead yet

Posted at 10:34 PM on July 29, 2007 by Chris Dall

Well what a difference two days makes. Yes, the Twins are still only two games over .500, but the past two days shows that this team still has a bit of fire left in it. Beating the Tribe with vintage Santana and a fluke Jason Tyner home run was one thing, but coming behind after getting blanked for seven innings by C.C. Sabathia was significant for this team. They're still within sniffing distance of the Wild Card, and with an upcoming series against the Royals and another against Cleveland, they could gain ground quickly. Or they could go and get swept by KC. Who knows with this team.

The question is, are the past two days enough to convince Terry Ryan to make a move? And will there be anyone left that fits his criteria? Ty Wigginton is out of the picture, as is Dmitri Young. One guy who could probably be had for a pair of Joe Mauer sideburns is Morgan Ensberg, who was designated for assignment today by the Houston Astros. Doesn't exactly make you tingle with excitement, does it?

Oh, and was anyone else glad that Barry Bonds didn't tie Hank Aaron's home run record on the same day that Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken, Jr. were inducted into the Hall of Fame?

A disappointing lot

Posted at 11:39 PM on July 29, 2007 by Steve Rudolph

Last week, the Vikings opened camp on the same day the Twins season unofficially came to an end. Ignore what Terry Ryan said about the Cleveland series determining what the Twins will do next, this season was lost in Toronto if not at the Metrodome against the Tigers.

And although it’s technically a little early for a postmortem, I thought I’d weigh in on the most disappointing individual performances on this year’s underachieving team.

Nick Punto – No one really expected him to replicate his career year of 2006 when he batted .290, his career average of .260 would have been adequate. Instead he’s barely about the Mendoza Line. What’s most disappointing is he doesn’t even seem to be trying to do what made him successful at the plate and helped his team. Rather than pounding the ball into the ground and using his speed like Luis Rodriguez to get on base, Punto seems obsessed with his warning track power. Making matters worse is his inability to execute bunts or advance runners in crucial situation and his myriad of mental miscues on the base paths.

Johan Santana – The two-time Cy Young winner has already lost a career high 8 games and there are still two months left in the season. A little more run support would likely have turned some of those losses into wins, but Santana hasn’t dominated batters like he did in 2006 and he hasn’t been as reliable in July, a crucial month for playoff teams, as he has been throughout in career.

Joe Mauer – His average is down more than 40 points, he still doesn’t hit for power, doesn’t drive in runs, and I can count the big hits he’s delivered this season on one hand. Enough said.

Ramon Ortiz/Sidney Ponson – It’s hard to blame these two too much considering Ponson was released in early May and Ortiz was removed from the rotation after just ten starts.

Juan Rincon – Virtually untouchable two years ago as the team’s eighth inning ace, Rincon might not be able to get me out now and I can’t hit. Rincon has a 7.33 ERA since May 1 and his ERA in July has been 12.38.

Rondell White – Finished 2006 strong after being moved from DH to left field. In 2007, he’s driven in two more Twins than I have.

Terry Ryan – Failed to address the team’s deficiencies at designated hitter and third base before the season and rolled the dice on hasbeens Ortiz and Ponson in the rotation. He also failed to lock MVP Justin Morneau to a longterm deal before the season and will likely lose Torii Hunter at this season’s end and Johan Santana in 2008.

Ryan is probably the biggest disappointment to me. Arguably the game’s best general manager, he took too many chances on aging veterans, assumed every breakout performance of 2006 would be replicated in 2007, and failed to secure the team’s core players before the season, which will likely mean the team can no longer afford the services of some of its stars when the new ballpark opens.

But that’s just my opinion. Who do you think has had the most disappointing 2007 season?

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