Monday, September 1, 2008

Laborious Road Trip

And on the 18th day, the Twins rested.

Happy Labor day, everyone! Minnesota just completed their "17 games in 17 days" stretch, and are officially through the dog dayz of summer. There are only 25 games left on the 2008 schedule (13 away, 12 home), and with the Twins trailing by just a 1/2-game to the White Sox at the beginning of September, that Sept. 23-25 series is gathering momentum as a possible season-altering match up. I don't know about you, but I'm making plans to be in attendance for at least one of those games. It's not every year that you get to watch your team play their way into a division title.

So if you've been watching religiously, you know the Twins have struggled to a 5-6 record through 11 games on this ridiculous road trip. You also know that they could very well be 9-2 with devastating come-from-behind losses to Anaheim (2), Seattle (blown save) and Oakland (blown save). The once-untouchable Joe Nathan went through a tough stretch, and it was to be expected at some point, but against Oakland and Seattle? Horrible timing.

All in all, it's been a disappointing stretch of games, but six games this week vs. Toronto and Detroit (Chicago Sox play Cleveland/Los Angeles Angels) give the Twins yet another opportunity to get a grip on the division lead. The team has to know these chances won't keep coming around. It's do-or-die time, and luckily, a few farm hands might put Minnesota over the top:

September Call Ups:

OF Jason Pridie - Anyone who's paid attention to Triple-A has noticed this speed/power outfielder all season long. He was probably one of the most obvious call ups with the way Carlos Gomez has been playing (offensively) lately. Pridie has a good, solid bat and a fundamentally sound defensive approach. He'll likely get some random ABs in September and could supplant Gomez in the outfield rotation with some luck.
SP Phil Humber - If you've been following this blog for the past few weeks, Humber has dominated the "minor league notes" section. Since a three-week stint in the bullpen, he's pitched out of his mind and deserved the big-league call. Seems that the minor league staff found his weakness and corrected it.
RP Bobby Korecky - Korecky has a few major league innings already this year, and wasn't all that great back in May. He'll get a few innings here and there to keep the other bullpen arms fresh, and will likely be auditioning for a shot to join the Twins next season.
SS Matt Tolbert - Tolbert is back from the disabled list after a lengthy rehab assignment. He'll join Brendan Harris and Nick Punto in a shortstop-by-committee approach.
RP Jose Mijares -This lefty was actually slated to pitch for the big club this season before sustaining injuries in a vehicular collision earlier this year. He's been quite good in a quick rise through the minors this past month.
3B Matt Macri - In my opinion, Mike Macri is less deserving of a call than Luke Hughes and Garrett Jones, but positionally, the Twins need more help at third base. I suspect the team wanted Hughes to get some more time under his belt at Triple-A/Arizona Fall League before handing him a role in the Twin Cities.
C Ryan Jorgensen - He's not especially gifted, but Jorgensen will provide depth behind the plate.

Snubs: Garrett Jones, RF, Rochester; Luke Hughes SS/3B, Rochester; Alejandro Machado 2B/SS, Rochester; Ben Julianiel, Closer, New Britain; Steven Tolleson 2B, New Britain; Dustin Martin CF, New Britain.

I'll be back tomorrow with a Minnesota/Toronto series preview... enjoy the tail-end of your Labor Day weekend!

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