If I had more title space, I would have called this the "Twins Edition."
With the Twins turning the tide at the beginning of the second half, it's time to look at some of Minnesota's big guns and the effect they may have on the American League.
Awards, playoffs, whatever works. I've got enough odd/frightening/bewildering/upsetting predictions to last us until next season.
Let's start out with a bang, shall we? I know I titled this article "Long Shots," but the truth is that young Mr. Young has a very legitimate shot at taking this award... If he can beat down Miguel Cabrera, that is.
After a rather pedestrian start to the season, Delmon Young now leads the Twins in hits and runs batted in. In fact, his ever-climbing .330 average entering today is good enough for fifth in the AL, and his 76 ribbies ranks him at fourth. He is also fifth in the league in doubles with 31, right behind Mauer's 32.
I know his stats aren't currently good enough to win the award, but Young has been on an absolute tear: definitely good enough for MVP honors if the Twins make a playoff push. At this rate, I predict he will end the season somewhere around here: .338/23/127
The Twins have been eyeing Mr. Matt Capps, or so says Tim Kurkjian of ESPN. If the Twins can acquire a closer before the deadline, (which they most likely will) Johnny Rauch would regain his spot in the bullpen.
Rauch has done a very good job for the Twins so far this season, saving 20/24 games and sporting a 3.13 ERA. If the Twins choose to stay with Rauch for the year, it's certainly justified.
In today's advent of the blown save, Rauch looks to be about as good as it gets as a closer. But given the opportunity, I think the Twins would spring for Capps and his experience as a closer.
The Twins have been waiting for the Francisco Liriano of old since his stellar 12-2 start to the 2006 season. This season is as good as we've seen Liriano in quite some time, and he's racking up a lot of k's.
The Franchise is currently 4th in the AL in k's with 139. Jared Weaver leads the league with 155. I guess this prediction isn't quite as crazy as the others, since nobody is really running away with the stat. I think Liriano will do just that towards the end of the year.
Here's where I think Franky will end up this season: 14 W/ 3.19 ERA/ 219 k
Another not-so long shot here. Pavano is currently tied for the league lead in wins, (13) tied for second in complete games, (5) third in innings pitched, (148.2) and leading the league in shutouts with 2.
Pavano's 3.21 ERA is nowhere near Cliff Lee's 2.40, but I'm guessing Pavano will end the season leading the league in complete games, shutouts and wins. And remember, Pavano's mustache turned around what looked like a pretty mediocre season. With the stache, Pavano hasn't lost since June 3rd.
Here's where I think our favorite plumber will finish the season: 20 W/ 3.04 ERA/ 8 CG/ 4 SHO