Answering Questions On The Minnesota Twins

Marty AndradeSenior Writer IAugust 23, 2009

ANAHEIM, CA - JULY 26:  Justin Morneau #33 of the Minnesota Twins runs to first against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Angels Stadium on July 26, 2009 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

This is where I ask those questions you might have asked had you thought about it:


Are the Twins still contenders in the AL Central race?


The Twins are sitting six games back behind the Detroit Tigers and the Chicago White Sox. This is not insurmountable. The Twins could sweep the remaining games against the Sox and Tigers (13 games total) and match their records down the stretch and sneak a playoff appearance. However, this is extremely unlikely because of the huge holes in the Twins pitching staff. The pitching on this team has completely collapsed. Francisco Liriano, Glen Perkins and Kevin Slowey are all on the DL, and they weren't that effective when healthy.


The bullpen is its own disaster area. Since the All Star Game the Twins bullpen has a preposterous 5.97 ERA including a monster sized 6.13 ERA in August. Giving up an .869 OPS to opposing hitters in August, it's hard to see the Twins being able to hold unto any close leads late in important games. These fundamental flaws will get in the way of the Twins winning a playoff spot.


Should Joe Mauer be the AL MVP?


This has been noted by a number of other Twins writers and bloggers, Joe Mauer is having one of the most remarkable seasons ever by a catcher. Joe Mauer leads the AL in OBP, SLG, OPS, OPS+ and batting average. In all of baseball he only trails Albert Pujols in SLG and OPS. This domination of these important averages show Mauer to be the most effective offensive player in the AL.


What is more incredible is the fact Mauer plays the toughest position in baseball. The wear and tear of catching normally slows down the best players. Hundreds of foul tips, hundreds of hours spent squatting, constant pounding on the glove hand...catching is not pleasant. There's a reason catchers have so few batting titles and typically have the lowest offensive numbers of any position in baseball.


So let's be clear: Joe Mauer not getting the MVP this year would be a miscarriage of justice. Not voting for him would be morally wrong.


What happens with the Twins starting rotation next year?


You got me. I'm not sure Rick Anderson or anyone else on the Twins has a clue as to how things are going to turn out. What we do know is there will be plenty of players to look at:


Scott Baker

Francisco Liriano

Glen Perkins

Nick Blackburn

Kevin Slowey

Brian Duensing

Jeff Manship

Anthony Swarzak

Armando Gabino

Philip Humber

Kevin Mulvey


Am I optimistic? Sure...why not? Someone in that group will catch the competency virus. Right?


What is the most  under-reported story about the Twins this year?


Jason Kubel. The Twins' DH is finally having the season everyone has expected out of him. He's on pace to set career highs in every major offensive category and he leads AL designated hitters in OPS. Unfortunately, Kubel's breakout has been overshadowed by Mauer's historic year and the Twins pitching awfulness. In fact, LaVelle E. Neal III reports Kubel may even be absent from the Silver Slugger ballot despite leading all DHs in OPS.


That's it for now, feel free to leave more questions in the comments section which I can use in future articles.