Series Preview: Twins (53-42) vs. Rangers (50-46)

First, I just want to make note of the new item on the sidebar. I have been blogging for 5+ years, and have always used an alias of some sort. Why? When I was young, I was stupid and wrote a lot of things I would have regretted had anyone known it was me. Then, I started blogging politics and law, and the things I wrote could have an effect on what firms/agencies would hire me after I graduated.

This site is different because it is a dialogue between Twins fans and friends. The most controversial things I will say on this site will likely regard what and where players should play (and possibly where Liriano’s agent can put his complaint).

It also appears to the right, but my name is Eric D. Olson, and I am from Bismarck, ND originally. I attended undergraduate school at Gustavus Adolphus College in Saint Peter, MN, where I officially turned my allegiance from my childhood team, the Braves, to the hometown (and much more fun) Twins. I now live out on the East Coast, in the DC area, where I attend Georgetown Law Center and watch every (EVERY!) twins game, as my wife (I’ve called her Mrs. Jonas for a while now, and she likes it, so it will stick) will frustratedly note.

Anyway, that’s a bit about me. Now, on to a bit about the next challenge for the guys.

Twins: The Twins, of course, have exceeded every expectation. My personal prediction for this team at the beginning of the year was that they would go 80-82, which they should exceed easily at this pace (no whammy!). However, the Twins have seen some problems recently. The Twins have been carried, to this point, by strong, young, starting pitching, and incredibly good hitting with RISP. However, the last series the Twins had with the Tigers saw that RISP number slip another seven points, to .307; it had already fallen six points during the Boston series. Leaving the bases loaded over and over will do that to you. The Twins need to get that RISP average back up there and increase their regular average and extra-base hits.

Rangers: I’m not going to try to give an amazing summary of how things are going for the Rangers at this point, since there is a much better summary than I could do posted over at SethSpeaks, which is from a sportswriter friend of Seth.

Team Numbers Comparison (All Stats current as of 7/17/08, from free section of Baseball Prosepectus and Baseball-Reference.com):

RS/9: Rangers: 5.6 (1st in AL, 1st in MLB), Twins: 4.88 (4th in AL, 7th in MLB)

RA/9: Rangers: 5.82 (14th in AL, 30th in MLB), Twins: 4.72 (10th in AL,  20th in MLB)

Pyth O/U: Rangers: 3.8 (3rd in AL, 4th in MLB), Twins: 3.9 (2nd in AL, 3rd in MLB)

Def. Eff.: Rangers: .675 (14th in AL, 29th in MLB), Twins: .682 (13th in AL, 26th in MLB)

Runs Scored: Rangers: 538 (1st in AL),  Twins: 464 (4th in AL)

Batting AVG: Rangers: .283 (1st in AL), Twins: .278 (3rd in AL)

Staff ERA: Rangers: 5.10 (14th in AL), Twins: 4.33 (10th in AL)

My Thoughts: I think the Twins should take 2 of 3. If you look at the numbers, the Rangers are amazing in all the hitting categories, but if their pitching staff were a ship, they would be sitting on the bottom of the Atlantic a long time ago.

Matchups (ALL TIMES EASTERN):

Friday night – 8.05 – Glen Perkins (6-2, 4.14, 1.46, .301) vs Kevin Millwood (6-5, 5.11, 1.71, .321) (Clear Advantage: Twins)

Saturday night – 7:05 – Livan Hernandez (9-6, 5.44, 1.62, .342) vs Eric Hurley (1-1, 3.57, 1.28, .253) (Slight advantage: Rangers)

Sunday afternoon – 2:05 – Scott Baker (6-2, 3.47, 1.16, .254) vs Vicente Padilla (10-5, 4.70, 1.45, .271) (Slight advantage: Twins)

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