They probably can’t…OK, next topic.
The Minnesota Twins have won with less, so there is hope, Minnesota. A lot of things need to go right, but it’s possible if:
M&M don’t melt
Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer need time machines. Everything starts and stops with these two. Last season, the former MVPs combined to miss 173 games and the Twins had no chance. In the six seasons Mauer has played in more than 100 games the Twins are 527-368 with three playoff appearances.
Supporting cast stays healthy
Denard Span missed games thanks to a concussion, Jamey Carroll is 37 years old, Ryan Doumit played in 77 games last season, and Alexi Casilla hasn’t played in more than 98 games in a season, but that’s not because of health; it’s because he isn’t good. Put these guys around a healthy Morneau and Mauer, and the Twins are a different team.
Liriano shows up
Liriano is quickly becoming the Edwin Jackson/Javier Vazquez-esque pitcher, who shows they can dominate, but never stays consistent. A 5.09 ERA is not going to cut it for a guy the Twins hoped would replace Johan Santana. Liriano has to be the No. 1 because Carl Pavano is not and Scott Baker (3.14 ERA last season and just hit the DL) is a solid No. 2 or No. 3 at best. With Nick Blackburn and Jason Marquis (sent to the minors) at the end of the rotation, there could be a lot of 4.00 ERAs for the Twins starting staff.
Twins need surprises
Home runs do not come easy in Oakland, but Josh Willingham hit 29, 15 of which were at the Coliseum. Willingham surprised last season, but just got paid and is 33. Danny Valencia has the ability to hit 20 home runs, but his on-base percentage can’t dip as low as it did last season (.294). Matt Capps (his ERA jumped 1.78 points from 2010 to 2011) and Glen Perkins have to surprise in the bullpen because the Twins have no one else. With Baker on the DL and Marquis not being good, Liam Hendricks will have to be solid to give the Twins an actual rotation.
AL East goes to the Red Sox, AL Central goes to the Tigers, AL West goes to the Angels, and wildcards (yes, wildcards) go to Yankees and Rangers. Yankees beat Rangers in one game playoff, Red Sox beat Yankees with ESPN dedicating 30 minutes of SportsCenter to each game, and Angels beat Tigers in ALDS. Red Sox beat Angels in ALCS.
In the NL, NL East goes to the Phillies, NL Central goes to the Reds, NL West goes to the Giants and wildcards go to the Marlins and Diamondbacks. Marlins beat Diamondbacks in wildcard playoff, Phillies beat Marlins, and Giants beat Reds in NLDS. Phillies beat Giants in NLDS.
Red Sox beat Phillies in World Series. If you’ll excuse me, I have to throw up because of that prediction.
At least we’re done with dirty college sports and can move on to steroids
Congratulations to Kentucky Wildcats coach John Calipari. You didn’t stop when the NCAA took away your Final Four season with UMass because Marcus Camby accepted $28,000 from two sports agents. You didn’t stop when the NCAA took away your national championship run with Memphis when Derrick Rose’s SAT score was invalidated.
You didn’t stop because only in college sports is winning more important than the rules of the sporting gods and is a place where the dirty car salesman is king. Thanks to this, you were able to poach on a big-name program that was so tired of losing (money and wins), it was willing to give away its soul, along with $31.65 million, just to win. You’re proof your win-loss record is the only record that matters in the NCAA.
Enjoy this championship, Mr. Calipari, because I can’t imagine you’re going to get to keep it.