Really? Everyone on the Twins gets hurt but this guy? REALLY? Photo courtesy of daylife.com
Yesterday I chronicled the difficulty surrounding the Texas Rangers’ injury situation, noting that problems with Josh Hamilton and Cliff Lee could seriously derail the Rangers’ chances in the playoffs. Yet the Rangers aren’t the only ones with injury issues. As the Twins move closer and closer to locking down the AL Central and eliminating the White Sox, players are dropping like flies and threaten to make the Twins an easy target in October.
The guys over at the Twins blog The Bat Shatters noted on Friday that the Twins series against Detroit was a success in the win-loss ledger, but couldn’t really the Twins’ roster in a major way. To start, the Twins ran through their entire pitching staff. As The Bat Shatters notes:
Yes, the Twins won 2 out of 3 and took a home series which they needed to take. Yes they are still 3.5 games up on the White Sox and yes, they are still in the driver’s seat for the division crown. But, I can’t imagine a series win costing this team more than the Tigers series did. To recap:
– On Tuesday night, the Twins used 5 pitchers: Duensing, Guerrier, Flores, Crain, Capps
– On Wednesday night, the Twins used 6 pitchers: Liriano, Crain, Flores, Guerrier, Capps, Rauch
– On Thursday night, the Twins used 8 pitchers: Baker, Manship, Rauch, Flores, Guerrier, Crain, Duensing, Blackburn
All of that would be fine, but the Twins also suffered some serious injuries. The Bat Shatters continues:
In addition to all of that, the series cost the Twins Orlando Hudson, Jason Kubel (could be bad, he’s headed for more X-Rays), Brian Fuentes and Scott Baker (looks like elbow tendinitis again). /buries head in hands
These injuries only add to the woes the team already had. Justin Morneau has been out for months and there is no immediate timetable for his return. Jim Thome continues to struggle with lower back discomfort and is used only in a pinch-hitting role. Starter Kevin Slowey is on the disabled list with triceps pain. Finally, rookie surprise 3B Danny Valencia left last night’s game with a mild hamstring strain. To summarize, the team has injuries to their starting 1B, 2B, 3B, RF, DH, two of their starters and their only good lefty reliever. This leaves them with a current rotation of Liriano-Pavano-Duensing-Blackburn and it means more playing time for guys like Matt Tolbert, Jason Repko and Alexi Casilla.
As with the Rangers, the Twins have time on their side. The White Sox are four games behind them (three in the loss column), but the Twins keep banging out wins and Baseball Prospectus’ PECOTA-adjusted Playoff Odds Report gives them an 87% chance of winning the division. The Twins will play the White Sox only once more, in a week and a half, and if the Twins can win 2 of 3 they will effectively lock up the division. This will give them an opportunity to get guys like Slowey and Baker healthy, but there are still big questions surrounding this team as it lurches towards October.