Minnesota Twins: Small Ball Is Key to Beating the Detroit Tigers

Collin Kottke@CollinKottkeCorrespondent IIIJanuary 30, 2012

MILWAUKEE, WI - JUNE 24: Alexi Casilla #12 of the Minnesota Twins bunts against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park on June 24, 2011 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images)
Scott Boehm/Getty Images

No one inside the AL Central is a fan of the Prince Fielder signing except for the Detroit Tigers obviously, but maybe Twins fans should be. Many things would have to go right for the Twins to win the division this year and now a couple more might have to happen to overcome the seemingly more mighty Tigers.

When Detroit scooped up Fielder, they instantly became the favorite to win the World Series. You could say the Tigers look to be a dream team of sorts with Fielder, Miguel Cabrera, and Justin Verlander. Do we all remember how well that dream team thing worked out for the Philadelphia Eagles? Yeah, it didn't work.

The Tigers bolstered their bats with the Fielder signing, but what they gave up was defense.  Former third baseman turned first baseman Miguel Cabrera will return to third to accommodate Fielder. What are the Tigers giving up? Defense. They are giving up on the old adage that defense wins championships.

There is some horrible defense on the left half of the diamond, with Miguel Cabrera at third and former Twin Delmon Young out in left. How does the Tigers' horrible defense benefit the Twins, though?

The Twins have never out-powered anybody. Harmon Killebrew is the only true power hitter in the team’s history. So over the years the Twins learned how to play small ball and that’s what they need to do to beat the Tigers.

It may take bunts from Denard Span, Ben Revere, and Alexi Casilla right at Cabrera at third. It may be doubles in the gaps by Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, Danny Valencia, and Josh Willingham. The Twins just can’t be intimidated by the number of home runs the Tigers hit.

The Tigers are going to hit a lot of home runs and if any team wants to compete with them, the smart thing to do is to not start trading home runs. The Tigers will win the home run battle. Small ball is the way to beat the Tigers. Just dink and dunk away.

In the Twins case they need more than just small ball. They need Mauer and Morneau to be healthy all year, they need reliable pitching, maybe even some miracles, but they need to keep playing like they have for years.

So get your bunting shoes on everybody. If Nick Punto was still here there would be an overload of head-first slides into first this year.


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