Grade Check!

Yes, we peanuts are still alive and kicking, but it has not been easy keeping up with our beloved Twins. You see, Stinky has this thing called "work" which makes her do many, many important things, but very few of them are baseball related. Where as I, Scruffy, have this thing called "teaching" which will eventually lead to a wonderful summer full of partial planning and lots of baseball watching, but which (right now) requires me to be working from 7 AM most mornings till 9 PM most nights, plus plenty of hours on the weekend to boot (also--I decided that coaching Track was a good idea...not sure why, but I did).

So, as we try to get back into the blogging swing of things we're proud to present a little grade check (thereby blending both baseball and my job...clearly, I need a social life). Yes, hard as it is to believe the season is almost 1/6th of the way gone. So without further ado, here's the check in

Honor Roll
Most Likely to Succeed (Credit: CBS)
A+ Josh Willingham--"The Hammer" is like that kid who moves into your school district over the summer and suddenly is the coolest, most happening guy ever. Girls want to date him, guys want to be like him, dogs want to sniff his crotch...basically James Bond with a bat. (Random stats: if the Twins were just 9 Josh Willingham clones their winning percentage would be .879 and the likelihood that the clones would overrun the city and take over the world would be .798!)

A Joe Mauer, Denard Span--Here's a shock, Joe Mauer is quietly (almost boringly--shocker) hitting well, fielding well and offering stock answers to questions (Quoth the Chairman: "I feel pretty good but um...we gotta get more runs across and ahhh...you know...get back to ahh...winning ball games"). Meanwhile Denard Span has been equally stellar anchoring a tumultuous outfield and offering a great season at the top of the lineup (Random stats: say what you will about cavernous Target Field, Denard Span has managed to hit above the league average for Batting Average, On Base Percentage AND slugging percentage--thank you gaps!; meanwhile Joe Mauer continues to lead the league in soft, manageable hair--thank you Head and Shoulders!)

B Justin Morneau-- "Shows great signs of improvement" that's the key phrase on Dr. Neau's report card. Where once there was only doubt and concern, now there is doubt and concerned mixed with verifiable accounts of lingering awesomeness. PLUS, the sight of him by first base makes Stinky all twitterpated again. (Random stats: 53% of all Morneau's hits are extra base hits; Unfortunately he is one of several millions of Canadians diagnosed with "Canuckitis" aka--how are there teams from Phoenix, LA and Nashville still playing hockey while we've got bupkus?)

Under the Radar with Potential
B- The Bullpen--Sure Carl Pavano's pitching well, but this recognition needs to go to a group of pitchers we were frankly worried about who have, surprisingly, not totally sucked! Yes, of the Twins 16 losses only 4 fall on the heads of the Bullpen, we've seen fine performances from stalwart Glen Perkins, ex-rotation-also-rans Brian Duensing, Anthony Swarzak and Alex Burnett and newcomer/"who-the-hell-is-that?" candidates Jeff Gray, Jared Burton and Matt Maloney. So shine on Twins bullpen, you might be beneficial in a year or two! (Random Stats: Perkins, Duensing and Burton have helped batters get themselves out with swinging strike percentages of 19% or higher--6% of the league average; also the bullpen has managed to knit four Afghans, three camisoles and one lamb-theme onesie while waiting for their chance to come in with a lead)

This child's adorableness made possible by bullpen free-time
(Stealing a pattern from the Knitting Queen)

C+ Jamey Carroll--Besides inspiring perhaps my favorite new nickname "Country Strong" Jamey Carroll, our new Shortstop has been a solid contributor in the field and in the batters box. He won't earn many highlight reel mentions or gushing fan praise, but he does his job, he does it well, and he has earned our respect (Random stats: He doesn't have many hits, but 60% of the hits he does have have been stretched for an extra base; he has successfully avoided 99 consecutive calls from Garth Brooks' alter ego "Chris Gaines")

Under the Radar with Some Concerns
C- Right Fielder "TBA"--This little slot in the line up seems to give our team fits. Over 23 games, the Twins have rotated through 5 players (Plouffe, Thomas, Doumit, Revere and Parmlee) and while a positional carousel isn't necessarily a bad thing, it does have the potential to drive one crazy: what with the ups and downs, the general nauseous feeling and the maddening sound of incessant Wurlitzer music. (Random stats: your AL average Right Fielder holds runners to their base 45% of the time, your average Twins Right Fielder holds runners to their bases 27% of the time; The Bluth foundation has, to date, raised almost $50,000 to fight TBA and give us an honest to goodness player out there...)

D Matt Capps--As sure as the sun rises in the East, as sure as there will always be an England, Matt Capps will be around to drive us NUTS. At a certain point you feel bad for him, I mean how would you feel walking into your job, with 30,000 people fairly certain that you are going to fail? But then again, if you don't fail, then people won't feel that way! (Random stat: Matt Capps has thrown a strike in an 0-2 count only 40% of the time this season...I know it's a small sample, but no other Twin has that bad a rate)

We feel the same way...
F Francisco Liriano--If I were teaching Francisco Liriano I would be calling home at least once a week, begging parents to come in for an intervention. I'd be begging administrators and colleagues and even other students for some idea about what in the heck to do for him. And I'd probably be just as dumbstruck as the Twins coaching staff is now. The deal was if the Twins got good performances from Mauer, Morneau and Liriano they might be sniffing contention...two out of three isn't bad, but it's not nearly good enough when Frankie has gone from "Lira-no-no" to "F-Bomb". Seriously please direct all advice on how to help this man to the Twins front office before they start placing want ads for exorcists. (Random stat: 98% of all bloggers analyzing Francisco Lirano's stats have no idea where to begin)

Any grades you feel like handing out? Leave them in the column below and vote for the grade you give the Twins season so far at the right.

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