When do you believe it is time to pull the plug on a season? Is it a set mark? How far back does a team need to be, and with how many games left?
: If the Twins lose 2 out of 3 to the White Sox, their playoff hopes will effectively be eliminated. In order to realistically have a chance to win the division, nothing short of a series sweep is acceptable. This upcoming series will be the ultimate measure of this team's resilience and their desire to win the AL Central.Leslie Monteiro
: Again, you go with your gut when it's time to pull the plug on a season. I felt the Twins were done few weeks ago when they lost that rubber game of a three-game set against the Tigers in a weekend series. I knew the Twins would play bad on the road, which they did in this road trip. That was why I pulled the plug. For the Twins to be entering play by being 2.5 games behind against the White Sox is not a good situation to be in. The Twins need to go 6-0 this week, and that's going to be impossible. For all intents and purposes, it's over. Nick Nelson
: In my opinion, if the Twins don't sweep the White Sox, they're done. They could still mathematically win the division by winning one or two games in the series, but the number of outside circumstances that would have to fall into place become too many.
How far will the winner of the AL Central advance in the Playoffs this year?
: The AL Central winner as it stands will be playing Tampa Bay, with games 1, 2, and potentially 5 all on the road. The Twins, while losing two games badly to the Rays this past weekend, showed some promise in being able to win in Tampa. That being said, however, the Trop will more than likely be a far different environment in October than it has been thus far. I get the feeling that the Rays are on a mission this year, and the AL Central winner, be it the Twins or the White Sox, will have to play some of their best baseball to make it through the ALDS.LM
: Not far. In fact, I expect a sweep whoever the Rays play. The Twins have no pitching, and Chicago is no better either. The winner of the division was a winner that got by. They were never that good. It's a joke that the winner of that division gets to go to the playoffs while the Yankees and the Jays are left out. Those two teams were more deserving. As we saw in this weekend's series, the Rays are a complete team. They can hit, and they can pitch. I could see the Rays going to the World Series if their pitching can do well against Boston's hitting. I was impressed with the Rays this weekend. How could anyone not be?NN
: I have a hard time imagining the Twins or White Sox would move past the first round. Both teams are too flawed.
Who will be the third baseman next year? Who should
be the third baseman next year?
: Who will it be? Barring a free-agent acquisition, I suspect Buscher will be the front-runner for the starting job next year. Expect Matt Macri to be given a chance to compete for the position in Spring Training, though. Ideally, I would love to see the Twins pull a rabbit out of the trade or free-agent hat, be it a Garrett Atkins, Adrian Beltre, or other name that was discussed this past July. LM
: In a column that Patrick Reusse wrote on Saturday for the Star-Tribune
, it was interesting that Reusse threw out the name Kevin Kouzmanoff of the Padres. Reusse talked about how the Twins should trade Delmon Young for Kouzmanoff. I thought that was interesting. He has good inkling of what the Twins do so that could be your third baseman. I wouldn't give up on Young after one year. My guess is that Buscher will be the third baseman. I thought Buscher did fine at that position this year. I think there is a room for improvement on him. What the Twins need to do is find a reliever next year. They need one more arm because I think Guerrier is finished. I am not a Jesse Crain fan.NN
: Right now, I'd guess Brian Buscher and Luke Hughes will split duties. Ask me again in January.
Following up on Dan's question from last week, will the new Target Field spark any change in your attendance? Will you attend more games because of the new outdoor park, less games? Why?
: I typically make between 5 and 10 games a year now, and despite its idiosyncrasies I don't really find myself turning down the opportunity to go to Twins' games because of the stadium in which they play. The novelty of Target Field will likely lure me to a few more games than my usual season quota, but that also depends on my personal finances and proximity to the Twin Cities two years from now. I'm willing to bet that the stadium will see a spike in attendance to kick off the 2010 season, but attendance numbers will likely regress back to the mean after the initial interest wears off.LM
: Well I live in New Jersey so it's hard to answer the question. If I lived in Minneapolis, I would go to few games. Problem is sporting events have gotten too expensive. It's hard for a person to go to a game by himself or herself. Could you imagine a family of three of four going to the games not to mention paying for parking and food? It would be ridiculous. You have to be filthy rich to go to sporting events frequently. I would go only once a year if I was living in Minnesota. I plan on going to Target Field in 2010. I would like to go visit the stadium once a year. I have to work very, very hard to save all that money for airline fare and tickets just to go to the Target Field. This is something I have to do. I want to see the new stadium.NN
: I'll absolutely be more tempted to attend games in an outdoor stadium. I go to a fair number of Twins games now simply because they're cheap; with a new stadium in place though I will go out of my way to attend games.